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Media Presentation Assignment - Neuroprosthetics


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Discussing neuroprosthetics - what they are and where they are going.

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Media Presentation Assignment - Neuroprosthetics

  1. 1. Technology Will Save our Minds and Bodies (Medical): Neuroprosthetics By Cody deVries
  2. 2. Introduction • Imagine learning one day that you can no longer make use of a certain body function – whether it’s hearing or you’ve lost complete control of your body due to paralysis, it’s a reality for a number of people. About in in 50 people worldwide suffer from some form of paralysis (that’s about 6 million people) (Paralysis Resource Center, n.d.) • Now, after learning you’ve lost the ability to use a certain body function, imagine learning that you can gain the use of that function back; this would be an indescribable feeling – and a feeling that is becoming a reality for some, thanks to neuroprosthetics.
  3. 3. What Are Neuroprosthetics? • Implantable devices • Can either replace or improve a function of the central nervous system. • Most popular is the cochlear implant (which allows deaf people to hear) • First built in 1957 • Over 100,000 people use them today. • Not an option for all who suffer from inability to hear. Source: (wiseGEEK, n.d.)
  4. 4. Cochlear Implant Alternative • Cochlear implant is not an option for all – some people are born without a cochlear nerve, making a cochlear implant useless to them. • There is another type of neuroprosthetic that is becoming more of a reality; the auditory brain stem implant. • Recently approve for children; was previously used mainly in adults who had their hearing damaged. • Amazing video of the first child to receive an auditory brain stem implant hearing his father’s voice for the first time located here. Source: (Yang. 2013).
  5. 5. Types of Neuroprosthetics • Sensory prosthetics: • Pass information into the body’s sensory areas such as sight or hearing. • Motor prosthetics: • Assist in regulation or stimulation of motor functions with issues, such as using the arm and hand to pick up an object. • Cognitive prosthetics: • If the brain has problem areas, the idea is that cognitive prosthetics will help improve these problems. Source: (wiseGEEK, n.d.)
  6. 6. Growth In Brain-Controlled Prosthetics • Researchers began by testing brain-controlled prosthetics on animals. • Over the past fifteen years, researchers have demonstrated that: • A robotic arm can be controlled by a rat to push a lever. • A monkey is able to play a video game. • The most miraculous achievement in brain-controlled prosthetics to date – a quadriplegic person can sip from a bottle using a straw, which will be discussed further in the next slide. Source: (Kwok, 2013).
  7. 7. Overcoming Paralysis • The story of Kathy Hutchinson is a good example of how neuroprosthetics are taking a giant step towards allowing people to overcome paralysis. • Kathy suffered a stroke (which happens to be the leading cause of paralysis (Paralysis Resource Center, n.d.) and is now paralyzed from the neck down. • She can now control a robotic arm using just her thoughts to perform motor skills (the example provided in the source is picking up a bottle for her to drink from with a straw). Source: (Kwok, 2013).
  8. 8. Not Quite There Yet… • The Kathy Hutchinson case also proved that there is a large step yet to be taken in the use of prosthetic limbs. • Although Kathy was able to grab the bottle and drink from it, her focused stare made it evident that even though she could see where her arm was, she couldn’t feel what it was doing. • She couldn’t tell when the fingers of her prosthetic hand actually grabbed the bottle, and she wasn’t able to sense if the bottle was slipping from the grasp of the prosthetic or not. Source: (Kwok, 2013).
  9. 9. No Sense of Touch? So What!? • Asking this question? Think harder. • Imagine trying to pick up something, but not being able to feel it – or for that matter, not being able to even feel your arm move. • Although you may well still be able to pick the object up, the process would be much slower and more clumsy than if you were able to feel the object and your arm. • This is where neuroprosthetics are currently at.
  10. 10. Looking Forward • Creating a prosthetic with a sense of touch is a very difficult task. • Think of all of the different feelings out there – from soft to hard, hot to cold, smooth to prickly, and everything in between. • Prosthetics researchers are working towards achieving prosthetics that can feel. • “It’s probably the next big thing that has to happen” – Robert Kirsch, biomedical engineer at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Source: (Kwok, 2013).
  11. 11. Costs Associated With Sensory Feedback • Most sophisticated device to include sensory feedback: prosthetic arm developed at John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. • Program that arm was developed as a part of has spent $144 million since 2006. • Arm contains more than 100 sensors that detect different sensations. • Approval has not yet been given to use brain stimulation to give sensory feedback from the prosthetic arm to any patients. Source: (Kwok, 2013).
  12. 12. Future Implications • With research of this type, it’s impossible to put a limit on what the future could bring in relation to neuroprosthetics (Rosahl, 2007). • The ability to access a human’s brain in order to access thoughts and deliver them to produce an outcome outside of the human body is extremely powerful. • Some are concerned that this could even lead to a loss of personal identity, because it really could be the beginning of the creation of human robots (Rosahl, 2007) (think Terminator!).
  13. 13. Future Implications (cont.) • Personally, I believe that the possibility of giving people who have physical disabilities the opportunity to have the quality of life that anyone without a disability has is incredible. • It doesn’t seem like we’re a long shot away from being able to have the blind see again or paraplegics and quadriplegics using their prosthetic limbs almost as well as people without disabilities can use their limbs; all thanks to the endless possibilities created by neuroprosthetics.
  14. 14. In Conclusion • Neuroprosthetics is a rapidly growing field of science and technology that will in all likelihood some day allow everyone to have the same quality of life. • It’s impossible to draw a line at where this technology’s growth will stop. • We are likely to see huge advancements in our lifetime (consider that the technology went from animal testing to a quadriplegic person being able to pick up a bottle within fifteen years.)
  15. 15. References Kwok, Roberta. (2013). Neuroprosthetics: Once more, with feeling. Retrieved from with-feeling-1.12938 Paralysis Resource Center. (n.d.). Paralysis facts and figures. Retrieved from Rosahl, Steven. (2007). Neuroprosthetics and neuroenhancement: can we draw a line? Retrieved from http://virtualmentor.ama- wiseGEEK. (n.d.). What are neuroprosthetics? Retrieved from Yang, Mackenzie. (2013). WATCH: Boy hears his dad’s voice for the first time. Retrieved from hears-his-dads-voice-for-first-time/