PhD student Peter Abolfathi of the Quadriplegic Hand Research Unit at Royal North Shore Hospital has designed a glove embedded with artificial muscles that can give movement back to people with paralysed hands.
Woven into the glove are “muscle wires” that store and conduct electricity to stimulate muscle and joint movement. The whole process is controlled by a biofeedback system that allows people to grasp and release objects.
The glove can also use its “smart muscles” to keep a damaged hand constantly and gently moving, reducing the risk of scar tissue growth.
Abolfathi is working on a portable control system to be worn on the body and that would allow patients to activate the glove with just a shrug of their shoulders, the movement would send a signal to the computer, which in turn would tell the hand to open and close.
One day it may become possible to implant the muscle wires and controllers, paving the way for artificial muscles inside the body.
Won the British Council Eureka Prize For Inspiring Science.
Kind of reminded me the work of Australian performance artist Stelarc who in “Third Hand” (1976-81), activated a robot prosthesis by electronic signals from his abdominal and leg muscles, while his own arm was moved by remote control using muscle simulator, more in igargoyle.