Magnetic balls inserted into muscles will help people with prostheses move better

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a new mechanism to help people with prostheses move more comfortably and naturally.

The biggest challenge for amputees is managing their prostheses.

Most limb prostheses are made using electromyography – this is a method of recording the electrical activity of muscles, but it cannot give a person full control over the prosthesis.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed an alternative approach that allows you to control your prosthesis much more precisely.

The authors propose to inject small magnetic balls into the muscle tissue of the amputated limb. This way you can measure the length of the muscle as it contracts: this data is transmitted to the bionic prosthesis within milliseconds.

The new method is based on a strategy called Magnetomicrometry, which literally translates into Russian as magnetomicrometry. The new technology tracks pairs of magnetic balls embedded in muscles using a mobile sensor array that captures the characteristics of each muscle.

Muscle signals are measured using electrodes that are attached to the skin or implanted directly into the muscle: in the second case, the quality of the data increases significantly, but the cost of the operation is also high.

When we use data about muscles using electromyography (EMG), we get, as it were, an intermediate signal. We see what the muscle wants to do, but in fact it cannot. Based on this information, the prostheses will move.

Cameron Taylor, lead author of the study

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Alexandr Ivanov earned his Licentiate Engineer in Systems and Computer Engineering from the Free International University of Moldova. Since 2013, Alexandr has been working as a freelance web programmer.
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Alexandr Ivanov

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