In the field of prostheses there have been many advances in recent years, but the price still represents a very difficult obstacle for many patients around the world. A problem that SmartArm could solve, as well as provide a better quality of life for patients.
SmartArm is a 3D printed bionic arm and equipped with vision, developed by a Toronto startup and controlled by Microsoft’s Azure AI. It’s a prosthesis much cheaper than other similar ones, but, according to the creators, it is also “the first arm capable of think and see” by itself thanks to an integrated camera and machine learning algorithms. Features that make it easier to use, and that allow you to do more things and be more autonomous.
“SmartArm is a perfect example of how people can use artificial intelligence for good“, he has declared Hamayal Choudhry, 25-year-old founder and CEO of SmartArm. “Our goal is to make arms that are not only accessible and convenient for people, but also functional and powerful.”
To work, SmartArm uses a camera placed in the palm which sees the objects and transmits them to Microsoft’s algorithms. These then make the fingers move in the best way to grasp the object itself. The idea is to create an experience similar to that of a natural limb; to take something we don’t have to think about the movement of individual muscles, and somehow it’s the arm itself that “knows” what it has to do. The goal is to replicate the same phenomenon.
SmarArm is already orderable and it costs $15,000, which is a fraction of other smart prostheses. A fact that in itself decreed its almost immediate success. “The response has been overwhelming. We’ve had people sign up from all over the world: US, Canada, UK,” Choudhry said, though he didn’t give exact numbers.
“Many people end up having to mortgage on the house if they need (a prosthesis), because the only way to get it is to pay out of pocket”, continues the manager. A problem that, perhaps, could become just a memory.
“Once I put on the SmartArm,” explains one of the first people to use it, “I felt at one with it. It’s a cohesive relationship, it seems like it’s always been there. I’m still learning how to use it, but for me it’s not just about the arm.”
Source: Tom's Hardware by www.tomshw.it.
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