Scientists have successfully given three Austrian men mind-controlled robotic prosthetic hands to treat debilitating nerve injuries. The results of these groundbreaking procedures - referred to as "bionic reconstructions". Men with injuries to brachial plexus, a network of nerves that begins in the neck region and connects to the majority of nerves responsible for controlling the movement of the upper limbs. Prof. Oskar Aszmann, a developer of bionic reconstruction, describes such injuries as representing "an inner amputation, irreversibly separating the hand from neural control".
The new technique entails a combination of nerve and muscle transfers, amputation and the utilization of a robotic prosthesis that responds to electrical impulses in the muscles. Prior to amputation, the patients required a significant amount of cognitive training, supported with comprehensive rehabilitation afterward.