Colorado man Les Baugh lost both his arms at the shoulder 40 years ago in an electrical accident. He just made history by becoming the first bilateral shoulder-level amputee to be fitted with and be able to simultaneously control two Modular Prosthetic Limbs from Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL). What is remarkable is that these limbs are completely controlled by Baugh’s mind—his thoughts control the movements of the limbs.
The procedure involved reassigning the nerves of the shoulder and upper torso so that Baugh could move his prosthetic arms with thought alone, just as a normal person does.
Baugh had to go through simulated trainings to be able to control his new limbs with his mind, and his movements are slow and deliberate, like something out of a terminator movie.
Obviously, this is only the beginning stage of such a new technology, and as researcher Michael McLoughlin stated: “I think we’re just getting started… I think the next 5 to 10 years are going to bring phenomenal advancement.”
As for Baugh, being able to have arms again has allowed him to ‘go into a whole different world.’
Things we all take for granted will now be possible again. “Maybe for once I’ll be able to put change in a pop machine and get the pop out of it,” Baugh says. “Simple things like that that most people never think of.”