Robotica by Zackary Canepari

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Les Baugh, 59, exits his favorite off-roading vehicle in the driveway of his house in Walden, Colorado.  Mr. Baugh, who lost both his arms at the shoulder in a freak electrical accident 40 years ago, has installed steering wheels on the floor of each of his vehicles so that he can drive. Since losing his arms, Baugh has managed life mostly without the help of prosthetic arms, which he finds to be more of an uncomfortable nuisance than a help. In 2013, Les underwent a state of the art surgery called Targeted Muscle Reinnervation, where the bundle of nerves at the stump of his shoulders were remapped to his pectoralis muscles. After he recovered from surgery, researchers at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab fitted him with two robotic arms, called the MPL or Modular Prosthetic Limb, and he was able to manipulate objects with his hands, just by thinking about it. The MPL is a state of the art prototype, and not ready for take-home, so Baugh has been practicing mind control at home in rural Walden using a virtual reality game paired with less advanced prosthetic limbs. At a later stage the researchers at Johns Hopkins hope to get Les to try more advanced versions of the MPL  in the hope that his remapped nerves will have grown deeper into his pecs and he'll be able to manipulate the arms more effectively.