Athletes with Prosthetic Limbs – competitive edge

Wow.  This was in WIRED’s blog today.  Amazing.
By Jose Fermoso EmailJuly 29, 2008 | 9:07:04 PMCategories: Innovations, Robots, Science  
Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh recently succeeded in implanting sensors in the brain of a monkey, allowing it to move a mechanical arm with his thoughts. This is the latest breakthrough in the field of Neuroprosthetics, where implanted chips carry signals to the remaining limbs of an amputee, guiding movement.

If the research holds, breakthroughs like these could lead to a reassessment of disabled people as ‘bionic’ and fully able, and lead to a new era of mind-controlled gadgets.

Oscar145Don’t believe us? In fact, it’s already happening.

Oscar Pistorius, a double amputee, uses carbon fiber-composite legs and doesn’t define himself as disabled — he’s already considered one of the fastest men in the world. The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) agrees: When Pistorius requested to participate in the trials for the Beijing Olympics, he was flatly rejected.

Why? According to Time, ‘more energy is returned to [his] upper legs from his blades than from ankles and calf muscles and . . . uses less oxygen.’ He was too physically advanced to compete against ‘non-disabled’ men.


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