New Prosthetic Hand Can Give Artificial Sense Of Touch
Peter Donnell / 4 years ago
Not a year goes by without an incredible development in the field of prosthetics and as human technological ability grows, we are more able to meet the needs of others. Yet for all the developments that have aided people in mobility, there has been a distinct lack of sensation, as you can imagine the loss of a hand is one thing, but replacing it with a prosthetic isn’t enough to replace the sensations of touch that a real hand would provide, until now of course.
Chicago University researchers have detailed how a prosthetic limb that is capable of stimulating the brain with electrical signals could replicate the feelings of touch. The team has tested their work with monkeys, which were outfitted with electrodes that monitored the areas of the brain we associate with touch. This allowed them to replicate the signals generated when the monkey touched something. Pressure sensors on the prosthetic hand could then detect what information it needs to send to the brain, thus given the end user the sensation that they are holding, or touching an object.
“The algorithms to decipher motor signals have come quite a long way, where you can now control arms with seven degrees of freedom. It’s very sophisticated. But I think there’s a strong argument to be made that they will not be clinically viable until the sensory feedback is incorporated, when it is, the functionality of these limbs will increase substantially.” – Said Assistant Professor Sliman Bensmaia in a recent press release.
There is still a lot of work done before the system is capable of being used in the daily lives of humans, but as a proof of concept it is nothing short of incredible.
Thank you Gigoam for providing us with this information.
Image courtesy of Gigoam.