The function is to replace muscle re-innervation surgery for full arm prosthetics by creating a prosthetic with the same functionality but non-invasive. This dramatically improves the quality of life for the individual. The way our prosthetic device works is really simple; you put on a headset which measures brain waves, a computer understands the signals and therefore the intentions of the user are also understood which allows the prosthetic to move accordingly. This process allows just as much functionality as the muscle re-innervation procedure but completely non-invasively.
Currently the best prosthetic available for amputees with full arm loss is only available through a very lengthy and expensive process. This process involves numerous specialists and requires a muscle re-innervation surgery in which the nerves of the remaining arm are re-innervated into chest muscles. After the healing process of up to 8 months, sensors are fitted on top of the chest surface which control the prosthetic. Because of high cost, only a handful of people have gotten the procedure done; all other amputees have a basic prosthetic fitted that has extremely limited range of motion. Targeted muscle re-innervation is a great idea but before this procedure is fully implemented the quality of life of amputees isn’t good, the time frame for something like this to be mainstream could be over 10 years and this is completely unacceptable. Our main motivation comes from speaking to amputees who can only afford to get a simple hook mechanism as a replacement for their lost limb.
The main idea was to combine electroencephalography (EEG) with a very affordable Intel Atom processor to process the signals from the brain, and programs on Atmega microcontrollers to control custom pressure control for the artificial muscle actuators as well as getting inputs from pressure sensors in the hand. All of these systems are to be connected using the 802.11b wireless protocol in the 2.4 GHz band for system communication. All our programming is done in the C/C++ languages. We chose to use a pneumatic system to actuate full arm control because of the massive cost reduction that it is able to provide. The uniqueness of our product derives from the way in which the full arm prosthetic is controlled. Through complex thoughts and air, we came up with a method of integrating these elements in order to move and control the prosthetic. We have completed 70% of the project to date.