Paralyzed man with robotic hand wired directly into the brain can feel his fingers


Prosthetic hand with sensory feel

A man paralyzed for over a decade, as a result of spinal cord injury, has been fitted with a robotic hand wired directly to his brain that allows him to feel almost naturally. Using the prosthetic hand developed by Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University, a 28-year-old man is now able to feel not only when the hand is touched but also tell which finger is being touched.  

Robotic prosthetic hand with touch sensitive aesthetics, which we first saw last year, is funded by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), USA’s advanced search and military division.

The hand has been wired directly into the brain’s motor cortex. Now, brain’s electrical signals can travel directly to the prosthetic limb, which are then translated into hand movement.

This was to ensure natural movement of the limb. In order to develop sense of touch, electrode arrays (used to measure current and voltage) have been implanted into the man’s brain area responsible for sensory signals, called sensory cortex.  This complex working now allows the patient to control movement of the hand with thought and can also feel when the fingers or the hand touch something.

To test, researchers actually blindfolded the patient and he could determine a finger and even multiple fingers being touched / pressed with 100 percent accuracy. This is possible because of the sensors in the hand that detect pressure on the hand / fingers. The sensors actually create electrical signals which mimic touch sensation.

Via: CNet



Bharat writes about latest gadgets, toys, robots and new technologies across various platforms. In addition to reporting and reviewing new products and technologies, he spends too much time digging the internet for endless questions. He's a die-hard football fan and a big foodie who wants to host Man v. Food some day.

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