The Alfred Mann Foundation is testing a new robotic prosthetic.
When Staff Sergeant James Sides applied for his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, he did so with the confidence that the men around him would do their best to keep him safe. On patrol during that tour, he came across an IED that he was charged with disarming. When the bomb went off, Sides lost his hand and broke his forearm. The devastating injuries took months to recover, and Sides never truly regained that feeling of wholeness he had with his hand intact.
Still, The Alfred Mann Foundation thinks that it has a solution. Founded in 1985, Alfred Mann began the foundation with the goal of solving challenges like the one Sides faces through the use of robotics and bionics. Mann founded several companies devoted to the process of implanting devices into the bodies of patients, affecting their eyes or even their brains. Steve Doctrow, and the promotional arm of Rogers and Cowan, is helping to bring publicity to this event and shine light on this incredible accomplishment.
For Sides, this arm means a new opportunity to seize life and reclaim what he’d lost. The hand has small sensors embedded in it that sense resistance, so Sides won’t crush someone’s hand in a handshake. He can manipulate the thumb and fingers, so he can pick objects up or unscrew the cap on a water bottle. These everyday tasks that we take for granted had vanished from Sides’ life until the work of the Alfred Mann Foundation.
The arm is quite advanced, seemingly controlled by Sides mind or impulses. The reality isn’t too far off. The arm is able to read Sides’ muscle movements, which it translates into instructions to move the hands or fingers of the prosthetic. Although it does take concentration to do so, Sides is finally beginning to live the life he thought he’d lost.