The future of prosthetics begins now! A new prosthetic AI-controlled hand has been created, which purely uses your brainpower and muscle signals to move. All that awaits its dispatch into the world is for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to grant its approval.
The brains behind this creation is a company called BrainCo — a cutting edge EEG and science startup.
BrainCo's prosthetic won them the Top Tech award at CES 2020 this month, as well as Time Magazine's top inventions of 2019. What a way to start the new decade!
How does this prosthetic hand learn to move?
With over two million amputees in the U.S. alone, the need for prosthetics is acute. Up until now, amputees relied on metal hooks for hands or robotic prosthetics that rely on physical buttons. All of which have limited mobility.
BrainCo's prosthetic arm and hand is much more mobile and does not require a heavy kit with buttons galore.
"We came up with a new way to understand electrical signals coming from the brain, going into the residual limb of the amputee, and detecting the intention of the user," Max Newlon, President of BrainCo USA, told CNET.
So how does it function?
BrainCo uses a software platform where the user trains its future prosthetic using electrical signals. These allow the prosthetic to perform a range of motions and movements, enabling the user to do particular gestures such as playing the piano and writing detailed calligraphy.
Newlon explained that this allows amputees to no longer have to rely on a limited number of preprogrammed movements, they can customize the prosthetic to their own body.
Creating six gestures takes only between five to ten minutes, and the more you use the prosthetic, the more lifelike it becomes said, Newlon.
If all of the above information wasn't enough to impress you, then perhaps the cost will.
Typically, prosthetics cost anywhere between $40,000 to $60,000. BrainCo's, on the other hand, will cost between $10,000 and $15,000. That's a huge amount of money saved and for a better product.
The company plans on launching their prosthetic later this year in the U.S., and will also be creating smaller prosthetics for children.