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Novel prosthetic devices in development


Narrator:       This is Science Today. Researchers at the newly inaugurated Center for Neural Engineering and Prostheses are in the process of developing prosthetic devices that can restore motor functionality in people with spinal cord injuries, amputations or neurological disorders.

Carmena:      There's a whole spectrum of these tools under development going all the way from non-invasive head caps with EEG all the way to implanting micro wires in the brain. 

Narrator:       Co-director Jose Carmena, of the University of California, Berkeley, explains that patients can learn to control their neural activity in much the same way that they learn to drive a car or play the piano. The device helps to translate that activity into signals that control a robotic arm or leg.

Carmena:      Think of this as a device that will allow you to convert thought into action.

Narrator:       Over the next few years, engineers at UC Berkeley will focus on improving the prostheses' durability while neuroscientists at the University of California, San Francisco will begin clinical trials of new devices. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.