Last year, a Swedish man became the first person in the world to receive a prosthetic arm with a direct connection to bone, muscle, and nerves. The man’s arm had been amputated over 10 years ago. He had been using a robotic prosthesis that used non-invasive electrodes placed on the skin, which limits what it can do. This was replaced with the new robotic arm with a control system connected to the brain. He can now control the arm with his mind, making him a true cyborg.
He has been able to perform much better with more flexibility in his job as a truck driver and at home with his family. He can complete tasks such as clamping his trailer load and operating machinery — as well as more delicate day-to-day tasks such as handling eggs and tying the laces on his children's skates.
The next step is developing feeling in the arm, which is possible with the implanted electrodes in the nerves. The full paper has been recently published in the journal Science Translational Medicine. You can see the robotic arm in action by going to CNET.
Image: Science Translational Medicine 2014