There are approximately 3 million amputees living in the United States today. In the last 150 years or so amputees been able to take a more productive role in society due to the development of prosthetic componentry. When a missing body part is replaced with an artificial one a new relationship begins with a partner that they barely know. As in any relationship the key to success is communication. Unfortunately, for bionic parts, communication is the weakest link in the chain of components that includes electronics, computing, actuators, mechanisms, and materials. These components are adequate for the application, but it is how they are controlled that is not adequate in mimicking the incredible dexterity of human limbs. This situation is perhaps best exemplified by the problem of hand restoration. For example, NASA has developed a robotic hand that very accurately approximates human dexterity, moving up to 22 joints independently.  However, current prosthetic technology can only control one joint at a time, and amputees are hard-pressed to use the advanced hand. This mismatch between machine and human capabilities shows the inadequate lines of communication. Fortunately, bionics researchers are approaching new ideas for restoring lost human functions as they move towards bridging the gap between human and machine. 
Peripheral Machine Interfaces Introduction
Web Design by
Website created by Kareem Adnan    |    June 9, 2006    |    UC Irvine    |    Biomedical!