Patient gains new independence with first-ever thought-powered - New York News

Patient gains new independence with first-ever thought-powered bionic arms

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

A patient who lost both arms has new, bionic ones thanks to medicine and technology coming together for the first time ever.

The new technology will help Jim Young do it all – and all he has to use is his mind.

"Anything like that, that can help me operate during the day, it's one less thing that my kids and my wife have to help me out with," Young explains.

It's his first full day with thought-controlled bionic arms and Young says he has his independence back. From folding towels to opening the refrigerator and grabbing a bottle water, this former electrician says the simple things now---after a freak on the job accident----are sweet.

"I was shocked with 13,000 volts and I woke up with what I had," he says of the accident that left him permanently injured. "A stump on this side and the left arm at the shoulder was gone, so I lost pretty much all of my independence."

Think about it. To pick something up, we use our elbows, wrists, hands and fingers.

Over the past decade, doctors and researchers at the rehabilitation institute of Chicago have been trying to come up with the world's first thought-controlled bionic arm.

The prosthetic looks familiar, but there's a small computer chip--similar to the one in your cell phone--tucked inside the bionic arm that reads signals from the brain.

"The brain is actually the size of a flashdrive, a very very powerful computer that deciphers neuro-information and commands the prosthetic what to do," Research Manager Blair Lock explains. "That means that he can calibrate that small computer processing system to his signal so it learns him."

This technology is amazing because that small device can be put in any bionic arm system, making it much easier to move those arms around by just using the mind instead of using other muscles like the back and chest.

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