Strategic observation

Feature: Palestinian undergrads design intelligent artificial limbs responding to brain orders

2018-12-06 17:55:37 (Beijing Time)         English.news.cn

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Palestinian undergraduate student Issam Salem Mahroum works on his project in the West Bank City of Jenin, on Dec. 4, 2018. Issam Salem Mahroum, along with his colleague Nada Salman, won the first place in the Arab world at the 20th Creative Student Forum held in Jordan under the scientific research -- Applied Science. The two Palestinian undergraduate students look forward to achieving a breakthrough in the field of artificial limbs after a research showing the possibility to build a functional body limb. (Xinhua/Ayman Nobani)

by Mohammad Abu Al-Rob

RAMALLAH, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Two Palestinian undergraduate students look forward to achieving a breakthrough in the field of artificial limbs after a research showing the possibility to build a functional body limb.

Issam Salem Mahroum, along with his colleague Nada Salman, won the first place in the Arab world at the 20th Creative Student Forum held in Jordan under the scientific research -- Applied Science.

The Creative Student Forum is a competition held at the level of Arab universities. This year, 38 projects participated in fields, including scientific, technical and humanitarian research.

The 22-year-old researcher, a student at the Polytechnic University in Hebron in southern West Bank, told Xinhua that he worked with his colleague on his two-year research to develop a medical engineering graduate project.

Mahroum explained that he and his colleague are developing artificial limbs that respond to the orders of the brain, stimulated by nerve signal through sensors placed in the hands of the amputee. The orders are transmitted through an electrical circuit, by the opening or closure of the palm by touching a certain object, he elaborated.

He said that the functional artificial limb has been successfully tested to perform the functions of the amputated limb in an amputation under the elbow.

"What is available in the market is a cosmetic product that does not perform a function and very few perform a limited function that does not include electronics or control," said Mahroum.

He added that his research is based on a fully functional limb through the sensory response to brain commands, which can be a breakthrough in this area.

Mahroum and Salman hope to be able to help people who suffer from amputation of limbs, as similar prosthetic products are relatively expensive and the maintenance in the Palestinian territories is unattainable.

The most difficult stage of the research was to secure the signal from the body to the artificial part "where we have dozens of experiments and attempts to design accurate sensors and response to stimulus," said Mahroum.

The research project was a two-year effort, Mahroum said, adding that his team is now able to create a functional body part within three days.

With the help of his university, he seeks to register the project as a patent after its practical application.

The research was supervised by engineer Fida Ja'afra of the Polytechnic University of Palestine.

Ja'afra said that the project represents the first artificial limb to be manufactured by local hands completely.

Ja'afra said she believes that the product will be easy to provide to the amputees at affordable prices that are much cheaper than the global imported products.

On the possibility of obtaining a patent, Ja'afra pointed out that it is possible at the local level, while international patent authentication will require a multi-stage effort and financial possibilities.

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the number of people with special needs in Palestine is 255,228, or 5.8 percent of the total population.

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