A competition will be taking place in October for those with physical disabilities and use prosthesis such as the bionic arm. It was only a few years ago when a patient was the first to receive a bionic arm; now 74 competitors will be competing in Cybathlon.
According to Chalmers University of Technology, “This is the first major competition to show that the boundaries between human and machine are becoming more and more blurred.” The competition is meant to encourage the industry to move forward with the making and advancement of prosthesis. While the technology is very advanced, the industry would like to see more value in them for everyday use.
Tasks to complete during the competition include operating a can opener, opening door, placing objects on a tray, and other everyday tasks.
A participant named Magnus has had his bionic arm for four years and said, “I don’t feel handicapped since I got this arm. I can now work full time and can perform all the tasks in both my job and my family life. The prosthesis doesn’t feel like a machine, but more like my own arm.”
The northern Sweden resident has worked closely with researcher Max Ortiz Catalan, who is a professor at Chalmers University of Technology. According to him, prosthesis technology has moved forward, as researchers have managed to directly connect artificial limbs to the human skeletal system.
These artificial limbs help the physically disabled feel like everyone else.
“In addition,” Catalan added, “we are including direct neural sensory feedback in the prosthetic arm so the patient an intuitively feel with it.”
Magnus is able to feel different levels of pressure with his bionic arm, helping him to grasp tightly onto objects. The prosthesis industry is currently working to add more sensations to the bionic arm.