The Next Generation of Intelligent Artificial Limbs
Navigating the world can be a challenge for people who have lost a limb. Although new robotic artificial limbs can dramatically improve an amputee’s quality of life, they still have a long way to go before they can fully replace a biological limb.
To help improve quality of life and function for people who have lost physical, sensory or cognitive capacity through injury or illness, Dr. Patrick Pilarski, Canada Research Chair in Machine Intelligence for Rehabilitation, is developing next-generation “intelligent” artificial limbs: prosthetics that can learn from and adapt to users through machine learning and biomedical technology.
Machine learning is a form of advanced computing that enables a machine to learn about a situation and make decisions based on what it has learned. It is enabling innovative rehabilitation technologies and approaches.
Pilarski and his team are developing new computing methods that will—for the first time—allow rehabilitation devices, such as prosthetic arms or hands, to intelligently learn about and adapt to their wearers. These robot limbs learn from, adapt to and work with their wearers to better meet individual needs, goals and lifestyles.
Pilarski’s goal is to spark a new generation of smart rehabilitation devices to support human movement, sensation and thought. Ultimately, this will enhance patients’ quality of life and lead to better health outcomes for those who have lost physical, sensory or cognitive capacity.