First mind-controlled leg prothesis
September 10, 2012
Researchers at the Long Beach Veterans Affairs Medical Center in California have built and tested the first prosthetic lower limb that can be controlled in real time by EEG (electroencephalogram) signals.
An EEG signal is fed to brain-computer interface (BCI) computer, which then controls a robotic gait orthosis (RoGO), which stimulates leg muscles.
The experimental setup showed the subject suspended in the RoGO, while donning an EEG cap, surface EMG electrodes, and a gyroscope on the left leg. A monitor (not shown), placed in front of the subject at eye-level, presented instructional cues.
It may be the first step towards developing a biomechanical means to restore able-bodied-like ambulation after spinal cord injury.
In previous work, they developed a way of using EEG signals to control the walking motion of an avatar in a virtual environment.
Future work is necessary to test this system in individuals with spinal cord injury paraplegia. Since spinal cord injuryusers are able to operate the BCI-walking simulator, it is expected that they can readily transfer their skills to the BCI-RoGO system.