There have been a number of prosthetics developed in recent years that directly connect with nerves, but their drawbacks have included deterioration of the nerve-prosthetic connection over time and lack of reliability in acting like a natural limb. With over 2,000 American military personnel suffering major amputations since 2000, the US Department of Defense’s DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) is working to advance better nerve-connected prosthetics through the RE-NET–Reliable Neural-Interface Technology–program. DARPA uses nerve/muscle interfaces to give amputees feedback and improve control (Gizmag) For the sight-impaired, the Russian company Oriense is extending its technology that assists robots to avoid objects to a human-worn camera/sensor combination. It combines a Primesense sensor (akin to Microsoft’s Kinect camera) with Oriense’s software which scans data from the sensor and gives voice notifications about where objects are and if they are directly in your path. The prototype would not be out of place on a robot (camera on chest, computer in hand, earbud) but second generation promises to be more streamlined. From robot tech to humans: hardware to “see” the world around you (MedCityNews).
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