Brain-Controlled Bionic Prosthetics Have Arrived

An Icelandic company is helping amputees make a giant leap forward with their new brain-powered bionic foot.

Ossur, a company headquartered in Reykjavik, just unveiled an advanced version of its Proprio Foot.

They have been secretly testing subjects with their new technology for over the last year and this week announced they are taking their invention to a larger scale with trials on more humans.

Ossur 2015: Ossur just unveiled an advanced version of its Proprio Foot.Ossur 2015: Ossur just unveiled an advanced version of its Proprio Foot.

Proprio Foot, which weights 3.14 lbs, is the only bionic leg of its kind that can be controlled through the brain.

Those who will use this new technology will first undergo surgery where a teeny-tiny implant that is equipped with myoelectric sensors designed by Ossur is placed inside the brain. This only takes about 15 minutes and its inventors indicate that the surgery is easy to perform.

The implant allows a person to control their leg and foot motions with ease via the sensory technology. This means that the sensors fool the brain into thinking the Proprio Foot is actually a real part of the human body.

“Our ultimate goal is to replace the function of the lost limb, and we've been doing so step-by-step and doing very well,” says Thorvaldur Ingvarsson, who heads up the research and development division at Ossur.

Proprio Foot is even more unique in that it does not need batteries or external power and it is designed to last lifetime.

Gudmundur Olafsson has been using the bionic foot for the last year. He sadly lost his right foot and lower leg in a terrible traffic accident in his younger years.

“As soon as I put my foot on, it took me about 10 minutes to get control of it. I could stand up and just walk away,” says Olafsson. “I was moving it with my muscles, there was nobody else doing it, the foot was not doing it, I was doing it, so it was really strange and overwhelming.”

Olafsson adds, “The first time, to be honest, I started to cry. You are moving the ankle, and I basically haven't had one in 11 years.”

Ossur anticipates that their brain-powered bionic foot will hit the market in about three years. They have not indicated what the cost will be for their prosthetic breakthrough, leaving some to conclude that it may be very expensive, along with the surgery required for the implant.

Would cost have a negative impact on the success of this new brain-powered bionic foot? Chances are no as amputees are always seeking new ways to live life to the fullest.

Technology is advancing and even expensive bionic limbs like the advanced Proprio Foot should go down in costs over time as demand rises.

And if anything this invention will certainly make the history books.