Prosthetic Hand First to “Feel” Objects
Prosthetic limbs in the future may go beyond operating for function, and instead will give back their users a sense of feeling.
Using neurotechnology, a prosthetic hand developed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), for the first time has allowed a paralyzed patients to “feel” an object.
The prosthetic hand is so sensitive that sensation can be recognized by each finger. Results were published in a DARPA report, which detailed that a 28-year-old man who had the prosthetic connected directly to his brain, was able to feel when an object was touched.
For the project, electrodes were placed on a sensory region of the patient’s brain. This allows the person to experience certain sensations, such as pressure. Arrays were also placed on the brain’s motor cortex, which detects movement. These sensors were then hooked up to the robotic hand so that the brain and the prosthetic could communicate.
This technology, once perfected, could be applied to all prosthetic limbs, and not just hands.