Double Amputee Practices Using Bionic, Mind-Controlled Arms

A double amputee has become the first person ever to control two robotic arms at the same time thanks to a pioneering experiment.

Les Baugh was involved in a horrific electrical accident that cost him both of his arms and shoulders 40 years ago.

However, the Colorado man has now been given a new lease of life by experts at John Hopkins University.

After training his muscles to use the new bionic arms, he was able to lift cups, and perform a range of motions with each arm, in a procedure experts say could change the way prosthetics are used.

The amazing technology makes a neurological connection with the nerve endings in what remains of Les’ shoulders, allowing him to control the state-of-the-art prosthetics.

For Les, the incredible technology means he can now carry out simple everyday tasks.

Bionic man: Les Baugh controls two robotic arms at the same time

“Maybe for once I’ll be able to put change in a pop machine and get the pop out of it. Simple things like that most people never think of, and it’s re-available to me,” he said.

The team at Johns Hopkins hopes this technology will prove invaluable for wounded soldiers and victims of accidents who have lost limbs.

Programme manager Mike McLoughlin said: “I think we are just getting started. It’s like the early days of the Internet. There is just a tremendous amount of potential ahead of us, and we’ve just started down this road.

“And I think the next five to 10 years are going to bring phenomenal advancement.”

The next step, McLoughlin said, is to send Les home with the prosthetics so that he can see how they integrate with his everyday life.

Before putting his new limbs through their paces, Les had to undergo a surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital to reassign existing nerves to enable him to control the prosthetic devices by merely thinking about the action he wants to perform.