The field of fitting robotic arms for the human body has grown very rapidly in the past few years. The potential of this technology has led many people, including Elon Musk, to think about whether we can live as cyborgs in the near future. No need to wait for the future, now this has happened to Johnny Matheny in Florida.
In 2005 Matheny had to cut off his arm because of cancer, and became the first to live with robotic arm technology. He received the arm in December 2017 and will test it throughout the next year.
This arm was made by the John Hopkins applied physics laboratory. Their goal is to create machines controlled by neuronal activities in the brain and make users, especially people with limb amputations, feel natural to use.
The thought control arm is attached to the base. The base is attached directly to the bone at the end of the amputated limb, and the nerves are connected so that the nerve signal can direct the device’s movements.
Although people have had this arm test before, Matheny will be the first person to actually live with this arm. The laboratory also hopes to have more patients come to try and test the quality.
Although this device is very impressive, it also has limitations but not really comprehensive. Mr. Matheny must not allow it to get wet and not use it while driving. Just keep some rules in mind, and you’ll eventually be able to harness the full potential of the device.
Revolution on robotic arms
The application of robotic arms in medicine is positive, and may even bring some life to some patients. In some cases, this device can also restore the feeling of the patient. In the experiment in the video below, a blindfolded person can still guess which finger touch the robot’s hand is.
These robotic arms can help people who are amputated or injured, or those who are born without limbs, can move in a very wide range. The most impressive thing is that this technology also makes them feel quite “natural.”
The two main parts of this experiment are to determine just how technically pure this arm’s potential is, and how well it can integrate with Matheny’s brain.
If one can design and successfully use pure control robot arms with this in mind, it will be a revolution. From that artificial limbs can become much more “organic”; align with the movements, intentions and body of each patient.
If this 1-year experiment is successful, what does it mean for the future of the industry, or for the prospects of hybrid users? In addition to helping patients use limbs, this technology has other promising applications such as Mars exploration. Elon Musk once said that if people want to explore distant places in the solar system, or adventure to new places, then maybe we have to pair ourselves with machines.
Biologically, humanity has very clear limits, but if we are powered by brain-controlled machines, then future humans can break those limits. However, it is also necessary to consider the risks that technology often brings.
Despite the great potential, the cost of the robot arm is not small. According to Quartz, the arm Matheny uses is worth up to $ 120 million. Hopefully scientists not only improve the technique but also find ways to reduce the cost of the arm.
South Korea: Olympic opening performance of more than 1,000 Intel drones
At every Olympic opening, people always want to show what is most impressive. The aerial display of 1218 drones in the Pyeongchang Olympics was such a spectacular performance.
This was a remarkable success for Intel, and they coordinated a drone battalion to create a spectacular performance. Each drone is only about 30 cm long, weighs more than 200g, is plastic and has 4 propellers. These drones fly in separate trajectories that have been calculated by a computer.
“It’s a crystallization of technology and art,” said Anil Nanduri, manager of Intel’s drone group.
Intel has done a few drone shows before, but this time the crew with the most drones, is also a new world record. Because this is the Olympics, the images presented are also Olympic themes such as images of skiers, birds flapping their wings very smoothly, the symbol of 5 intersecting circles of the Olympic symbolizes 5 continents. The company did not forget to promote itself with the Intel logo at the end.
Elaborate preparation process
To simulate a skier’s picture, Intel’s team had to study the image of a real skier, and then designed and controlled the computer to create the perfect frame in the sky.
Computers use 3D design software to draw frames. Each drone is like a pixel in that 3D frame. All the drones are connected and contacted, receiving commands directly from a computer instead of communicating with nearby drones.
Each drone only has enough battery for 20 minutes, so the time for the performance is very limited. In addition, to achieve this spectacular performance, Intel’s drone team had to overcome two major obstacles, low temperatures and relatively strong winds in Pyeongchang city.
When there is a strong wind, the 4 rotor blades of the drone must be adjusted to regain balance, so the drone will need more power from the battery. After testing in different wind situations, they have to adjust the design of the drone’s rotor cover so that it can fly stably in windy environment.
Low temperatures have no effect on the drone’s chassis and engine, but directly on the battery. The outdoor temperature may drop to -11 degrees Celsius. In such cold conditions, the drone’s Lithium-ion battery may not function properly. Intel’s drone team must test flight in Finland, to ensure that the drone can still work well and have enough time in such cold conditions.
More importantly, they have to refine the battery system to minimize the possibility of malfunction during performances. There must also be weather stations and air traffic controllers in the field.
Intel wants to upgrade its drone fleet even further, but that much is enough to have an impressive and “unprecedented” performance at this year’s international event.