Sensors Allow Amputees to Control Bionic Limbs with Minds

It sounds like something out of a movie. Ossur, an Iceland-based orthopedics company, has made it possible for amputees with prosthetic limbs to control them with their thoughts, by developing and surgically placing sensors in a patient’s residual muscle tissue. These sensors elicit movement in the prosthetic leg through a receiver. It has already been tested on two patients. You can read all about it here.

After reading about this groundbreaking technology, I decided to talk to my network of AMP-Peers and others on my amputee contact list, to see what they thought about it. A few respondents were hesitant, noting the concept is great, but unsure the technology would ever actually make it to your Average Joe, wrestling with insurance companies every day for the equipment they need.


Other respondents focused on the technology’s usefulness. An individual with a recent amputation said, “Hopefully that type of technology makes its way to the United States. I think it might make walking, standing, and even balancing easier. Losing my leg is all new to me, and I’m having a very hard time accepting and dealing with it all. But anything that may make the process easier with more of a natural feel is a blessing.”

Another liked the technology’s concept of “mind over matter,” saying, “After reading the article I have to say that I was impressed and intrigued. The article also takes me back to something my Mom always told me: the mind is your most powerful weapon in overcoming anything that life throws at you. She had lung cancer and breast cancer. Later, she was on oxygen. Nothing ever got her down and nothing held her back. She was an amazing woman. With all of that being said, I loved the article and the prospects of this new technology.”

But questions remain on how this technology could help people with varying types of amputations and injuries. One respondent said, “I think that it is a wonderful use of technology. I am not sure how it might apply in my situation. I suffered a closed head trauma resulting in left hemispherical paralysis. I am also missing my left leg. I do not feel as though I would have enough nerve/muscle control to take advantage of this device. Please believe me when I say I would love to this make this work for me. I just don’t think I would be able to.”

So, I’m curious, what do you think?

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