The future's within arm’s reach!


Just a small thought that I had in just how far science can take robotics and its countless uses, but it is astounding to really just imagine the possibilities of what mastering such a wonderful part of science could mean for people around the world. This though is what lead me to look into an on-going inspirational story on a man named “Nathan Copeland”.

When he was in his teens he was involved in a major accident which essentially left him paralysed and without feeling in the majority of his arms to his shoulders. Though he is able to move his arms, he cannot sense anything in his hands; which is more of a problem that one may initially assume – This is because when you really think about it, a lot of the movements made with our hands actually require us to have some form of sensation; as in you have to feel like you are moving your index finger in order to move it otherwise even if you have the strength or even a fully functioning finger, if you cannot feel it then you are not able to command it to move (which was Nathan’s situation). 

Nathan and a group of hardworking scientists have been working on ways to improve prosthetics so that millions who have gone through the same or worse have a chance to get a bit of what they once had back. This is being done by linking some of the nerves in the brain that control the sensation felt in the body to a robotic arm and testing whether or not a sensation/feeling is interpreted and with this information hopefully aiding future progress into achieving their goal.

If you have not already realised from the various articles written, I am a fan of sci-fi films like Stars wars and this honestly reminds me of a film like “Robo-cop” or “Star Wars” where Anakin Skywalker loses an arm and it is replaced with a robotic one with all the right feelings and sensations of human one. This is actually an exciting feat as it could help in so many different aspects of life:

  • Sports (This research would take prosthetics to a entirely new level, affecting major sporting events like The Paralympics or the IAAF championships).

  • Health (The key aspect that would be revolutionised if studies like the one Nathan is undergoing were to be more looked into and completed as it would change how doctors conducted medical procedures for those left disable or even born with disabilities and need major operations to help).

  • Construction(An aspect that many may not actually think of but imagine if you were able to create an arm that could connect to the same nerves humans have in order to more intricately construct object in real life like sculptures or even buildings).