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