A man said to be the first person in Europe to drive a car using a mind-controlled robotic limb has died in a car crash in Austria, say media reports.
An Austrian man who was the first in Europe to wear an innovative high—tech artificial arm has died after the car he was driving veered off the road and crashed into a tree.
Christian Kandlbauer lost both of his arms in an electrical accident in September 2005 but was able to live a largely normal life thanks to a mind—controlled robotic prosthetic left arm and a normal prosthesis in place of his right arm.
The 22—year—old died on Thursday, said Andreas Waltensdorfer, a senior physician at a hospital in the southern city of Graz, where Kandlbauer had been in intensive care since Tuesday, the day of the crash.
The cause of the crash remains unclear. Both Dr. Waltensdorfer and local police said on Friday it was impossible to tell whether the accident was caused by problems with Kandlbauer’s prosthetic arms.
Kandlbauer, who drove himself to work every morning after getting his driver’s license last year, had said his quality of life improved dramatically due to the mind—controlled prothesis, which recognized signals from his brain and moved accordingly.
“Thanks to the mind—controlled prothesis, I’m almost as independent and self—reliant as I was before my accident,” Kandlbauer said in comments on the Web site of Otto Bock HealthCare Products GmbH, the company that produced the prothesis. “I can pretty much live the life before the accident.”
Kandlbauer’s car was adapted with special equipment and was approved by local transportation authorities.
Notburga Halbauer, a spokeswoman for Otto Bock HealthCare Products GmbH, said Kandlbauer was the first person outside the United States to wear the mind—controlled prothesis.