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Muscular Dystrophy Exoskeleton

Augment weak arms.
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Folks with muscular dystrophy and related ailments such as Lou Gehrig's disease suffer a progressive loss of muscle power. The muscles do not disappear, though - they just become too weak to do the job. People wind up wide awake, with normal intelligence, but unable to scratch their own nose or brush their hair.

EKG-type systems can detect electrical signals given off by muscular contraction. Even the weak muscles these folks develop still contract some, and thus emit a detectable signal. This could be used to develop an exoskeleton-type device. One could take this to the n-th sci-fi extreme, but here is a practical way it could be done. Start with the right arm. Use a transducer to determine over each major muscle group where the strongest signal is detectable. Put a tattoo dot there. The exoskeleton is slipped along the arm - I imagine a series of thin jointed rods running parallel to the arm, attached by cuffs at the wrist, elbow and shoulder. The leads are put on the tattoos each day by an assistant. Small motors in the exoskeleton pull the rods and with them the arm according to the detected muscle impulses.

The result: an augmentation system allowing the person to move the right arm and position the hand. They can then scratch their nose, brush hair, pick up the phone, type etc.

bungston, Mar 07 2003

Critique of Gibson's "Winter Market" a (rather bleak) short story found in the "Burning Chrome" anthology http://www.sfu.ca/~delany/market1.html
Explores the themes touched on here. [zen_tom, Jul 09 2007]

[link]






       ...or you could just have each sufferer bitten by a special spider,blasted with gamma rays etc. it would be cooler, and produce a huge number of marvel spinoffs. bonus.
sambwiches, Mar 07 2003
  

       Awhile back, I saw an article concerning 'muscle fabric,' of some sort, Wish I could remember where I saw it. Wasn't nitinol-based.
RayfordSteele, Mar 10 2003
  

       That myoelectric hand orthosis is pretty much exactly what I proposed. Note sure if that makes it baked or not. Still pretty dang cool!
bungston, Mar 13 2003
  

       Looks like [jutta's] links have disppeared. What a shame.
bungston, Apr 12 2004
  

       to revive an old post i am bunning this due to my muscular dystrophy
redpandainventor, Jul 09 2007
  

       This one's only a matter of time. Sadly for [redpanda] and millions of others, no one knows quite how long.
wagster, Jul 09 2007
  
      
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