Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Paralympic Power
29 August 2012

Paralympic Power

The Paralympic Games – which begin in London today – are an awesome exhibition of human talent, strength and spirit. But look closer, and you’ll also find a showcase of biomedical progress. When the athletes lined up for the first official Paralympic Games in 1960, the cumbersome gas-powered artificial arms (left) were state-of-the-art prosthetic technology. Since then, vast advancements have boosted the quality of life for people with disabilities of all forms. Today, prosthetics blur the boundary between man and machine. The AMO Arm (right) is a brain-controlled artificial limb that can be used without any invasive surgery. Users don a headset, strap into the device, and use the power of their mind to move the arm. Technology like this, combined with the immense force of will of the Paralympic athletes, is making the world reassess what is and isn’t possible for people with disabilities.

Written by Anthony Lewis

  • RH Image courtesy James Kachan
  • LH Image Originally published under Creative Commons (CC-BY-NC-ND); Courtesy of Wellcome Images, Science Museum, London

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