Medical scientists have fitted a man with a bionic hand that makes it possible to simulate feeling. The bionic hand does this by simultaneously stimulating nerves in the wearer’s arm when grasping.
The artificial hand was measured on Dennis Aabo Sørensen who lost his hand after a fireworks incident, Live Science reports. It would be the first time that scientists have succeeded in making the wearer feel what is being touched or grasped with an artificial hand. A study conducted with Sørensen showed that he could accurately describe the properties of grasped objects based on touch. In addition, the test subject reported that the feeling of the bionic hand is comparable to the natural sense of touch.
Simulating sensation in an artificial hand is possible because the nerve pathways that originally came from the hand are still present in people who have lost a hand due to amputation. This also causes the phenomenon of phantom pain, for example. By correlating touches of the artificial hand with electrical stimulation of the nerves in the arm, sensation can be simulated. In the long run, this should make the use of prostheses more natural.
In recent years, much research has been done on artificial limbs and their control via the nervous system. For example, several scientific groups have developed robot limbs that can be operated by paralyzed people, for example. By reading out brain signals, thinking about movement can be translated into mechanical movement.