Weirdly Interesting

How Do Bionic Prosthetics Work?

The science of bionic prosthetics is a little more accessible than you may have thought. In reality, the idea that our brains can speak to artificial limbs, and those limbs can respond by mimicking what the human body would do is no longer a science-fiction fantasy – and you might even be able to understand how this process works. The world of bionics is here, and it's absolutely amazing. 

The business of creating stand-ins for missing body parts isn't a new one. Humans have long been losing parts and attempting to replace them with man-made materials – think glass eyes, dentures, and even toupees. It really isn't a giant leap, almost three thousand years later, to attempt to connect those prostheses to the brain. Put simply, "[bionics] is a term which refers to the flow of concepts from biology to engineering and vice versa." For the scientists among you, this connection may seem rather intuitive, but, for the rest of the population, making sense of the human brain talking to a piece of engineering can be hard to wrap your head around. Erik Sofge of Popular Science explains bionic prostheses best, expounding "[when] the electrical impulse from [the] brain reaches the base of [the] leg, a pair of sensors embedded in [the] muscle tissue connect the neural dots, and wirelessly transmit that signal to the [bionic foot]."

Got it? No? Keep reading for a more detailed explanation.