Bionic Arm Named Best of America - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Published on April 10, 2006

RIC's Neuro-Controlled Bionic Arm Named 'Best of America' by Reader's Digest Magazine

PLEASANTVILLE, NY - The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago's (RIC) Neuro-Controlled Bionic Arm has been named 'Best of America' by the editors of Reader's Digest magazine. This celebration of the quirky, amazing and truly extraordinary is featured in the May issue, on newsstands April 18.

After speaking to hundreds of experts and ordinary folk, the editors tested, tasted and debated everything from the Best Sandwich to the Best Must-Have Gadgets to the Best Buzz Cut. The resulting list is organized in six categories: Legacies, Passions, Adventure, Innovations, Time Off and Connections.

"Our country is full of hidden treasures, creative products and inspiring stories that often don't grab the national spotlight," said Reader's Digest Editor-in-Chief Jackie Leo. "We had great fun putting this lively and surprising issue together."

Pioneered by Todd Kuiken, MD, Ph.D., Director of RIC's Neural Engineering Center for Artificial Limbs, the Neuro-Controlled Bionic Arm, developed by a team of researchers from around the world, was honored as an innovation that allows an amputee to think about a movement to control his prosthetic arm.

"It's an honor to have this work nationally recognized", said Dr. Kuiken. "It's been a labor of love for me as well as for my team of colleagues from around the world who all contributed to making this idea come to fruition."

Kuiken's vision of using nerve transfers for improved control of prostheses allows for simultaneous operation of multiple joints with more natural, intuitive control and greater ease. This research has enabled an individual with shoulder disarticulation amputations the ability to control six joints including a powered shoulder, arm rotator, elbow, 2 wrist movements and a hand. Another component of nerve transfer surgery is the that hand sensation nerves grow into different skin and can provide sensation to amputees so that they feel what they are holding with the prosthesis as if it where in their missing hand. The technique also has the potential to allow control of motorized legs and the ability for amputees to 'feel' the ground they are walking on.

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About Reader's Digest

Reader's Digest reaches about 80 million readers worldwide each month. The magazine celebrates ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and delivers a compelling mix of humor, personal service and other human-interest stories. Reader's Digest is published in 20 languages and 50 editions worldwide.

About the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) is dedicated to helping people with all levels and types of physical disabilities regain or improve their physical functions and empowering them to participate more fully in family, social, vocational and leisure time pursuits. The Institute has been ranked the 'Best Rehabilitation Hospital in America' by U.S. News & World Report, every year since 1991 and is the first independent rehabilitation hospital in the country to receive the Magnet award for excellence in nursing services by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. RIC operates a flagship hospital in Chicago as well as a network of DayRehabCenters and outpatient centers located throughout Chicago and surrounding suburbs. Additionally, RIC maintains strategic alliances with other high quality health care providers throughout the state of Illinois, including Advocate Illinois Masonic, Alexian Brothers Hospital Network, RML Specialty Hospital and Southern Illinois Healthcare. For more information, please visit our web site at

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