Thanks to new DARPA technology, things like picking up a coffee cup could be, literally, within grasp.
Cyborgs are here -- or, at least, they're in DARPA laboratories.
For a while now, the Defense Department agency, alongside civilian researchers, has been working to develop prosthetic limbs that can be controlled by the brains -- as in, the thoughts -- of their wearers.
And one of the most promising of those prosthetic devices, especially for near-term, practical application, has been something that emphasizes the "man" in "bionic man." (Or, of course, the "woman" in "bionic woman.") DARPA, through its Reliable Neural-Interface Technology (RE-NET) program, has developed a prosthetic interface that relies on "targeted muscle re-innervation." TMR works, DARPA says, by essentially "rewiring nerves from amputated limbs," allowing the wearer of a given prosthetic to control the device with his or her existing muscles. The approach relies on signals, from nerves or muscles or both at the same time, to control the prosthetics and provide direct sensory feedback to the wearer. Limb to brain and back again.
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