Advanced Control Research Ltd (ACR) is developing a new microchip system that will give prosthetic arm users more movement and control of their artificial limbs thanks to an Invention & Innovation award of £65,000 from NESTA (the National Endowment for Science, Technology & the Arts), the organisation that invests in UK creativity and innovation.
The ACR system uses myoelectric technology to transfer the user’s thought processes into a range of movements. It does this by interpreting electrical signals generated when muscles contract and relax and translating these signals into physical movements of a prosthetic limb. The ACR system is unique in that it can identify up to four different signals from a single site on the arm, unlike existing systems that recognises only one. Therefore, a user of the ACR chipset will be able to turn a wrist or elbow in addition to opening and closing a grip.
Preliminary user trials are indicating that the system is easy to learn and that its superior analysis of electrical signals could make myoelectric technology available to a wider range of people. Future developments could include larger numbers of distinct motions and groups of movements for particular situations such as the kitchen, car or workplace.
Joseph Meaney | alfa
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