New team of researchers from the University of Arkansas to try to turn prosthetics science fiction into science fact


Sci-fi fans are often treated to stories of miraculous technological advancements that would restore not only the functionality of a lost human limb, but also its lost tactile sensations.

It’s an old movie trope, with roots going back almost 100 years to Fritz Lang’s groundbreaking silent film, “Metropolis” throughout the 1970s ” oct / 24 / nwa- editorial-a-new-college-team / “Six Million Dollar Man” (what a godsend!) and various other sci-fi franchises.

Researchers heading to the University of Arkansas’ Fayetteville campus will attempt to eliminate the fictitious aspects of such stories.

With the help of a $ 194 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation, the AU established the Institute for Integrative and Innovative Research and assembled a faculty with prestigious credentials.

Last week, the school announced that Ranu Jung, an inventor and researcher, has been chosen as the institute’s first director. She will be joined by four other researchers, including her husband, James Abbas, to work on the development of a new type of prosthesis that, depending on your daily life, would be able to give users a feeling of touch or touch.

The emerging group has worked together for many years on projects involving prosthetic technology and neural engineering – an area of ​​study that uses engineering techniques to improve or replace neural systems. One of the potential applications of such a study is to find ways to interface the brain with mechanical devices.

Think about it for a minute. We live in a world where technological advances are greeted with a yawn. But restoring the sense of touch with a mechanical device is an amazing concept.

According to our story last week, the group has already worked on developing their research with military veterans who have lost limbs.

They are now bringing this work to the AU campus. A new installation to carry out the work is being planned. It has a budget of $ 114 million. We told you Steve Austin was a good deal in the ’70s.

To be clear, the Walton grant will kick off research at AU in other disciplines as well: data science, food systems, materials science and metabolic disease studies, as well as integrative neuroscience.

The creation of this institute is quite the academic feather in the hat of the University of Arkansas. This kind of revolutionary and potentially transformative research is a main function of land granting institutions, but it seems quite important to us.

The awarding of degrees, teaching marketable professional skills, and promoting the liberal arts attract more attention from a university than the incredibly complex work of scientific research. But it’s the kind of work that, if successful, can change lives and benefit countless people. And, who knows what other related discoveries will result?

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WHAT’S THE POINT: New Institute at University of Arkansas Brings Groundbreaking Research and Breathtaking Opportunity to Fayetteville Camps

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