Teenager creates artificial hand controlled by the mind

Mar 25, 2014, 10:55 IST | Agencies

After a member of his extended family lost both arms, and had to shell out a fortune for prosthetic arms, 15-year-old Shiva Nathan decided to design a low-cost robotic arm controlled by the mind to give amputees the freedom they need

Boston: Shiva Nathan is a 15-year-old boy with one huge, global idea. He has built a robotic arm that moves based on signals generated by two mental states, attention and relaxation — a key first step in developing a functioning

Deserves a hand: Shiva Nathan (15), recently won $5,000 for the artificial arm that costs less than an iPad and is completely controlled by the human mind. 

So when people lose their arms, they may be able to get new limbs that can move with just a thought in future — thanks to Nathan’s innovation.

The teenager from Westford in Boston, USA, has already earned international renown for his robotic arm that can be moved around by signals from a person’s brain that are transmitted over a wireless Bluetooth device.

For now, the arm only waves from side to side, while its fingers flex in and out. Nathan cannot control it very precisely.

But despite its limitations, Nathan’s mechanical arm is winning plenty of praise.

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, his arm won a $5,000 award for its innovative use of the Bluetooth radio technology found in most cellular phones.

Nathan is an avid technologist who writes iPhone apps and takes precollege classes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to improve his electrical engineering skills.

But his interest in robotics was born, when he learned that one of his father’s relatives in India had lost both her forearms in an accident some years before. “I decided to take matters into my own hands and design a prosthetic,” Nathan said.

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