A Bionic Hand That Can Feel
An unnamed man in Rome will soon undergo a transplant to receive a bionic hand that can actually feel. The man, who lost the lower part of his arm following an accident, will be able touch, feel and use the bionic hand just like a regular one thanks to technological advancement in artificial limbs.
A previous, portable model of the hand was attached to Pierpaolo Petruzziello in 2009, who lost half his arm in a car accident. The older model would allow the man to move the hand's fingers, clench them into a fist and hold objects, and even feel needles pricked into the hand's palm. But the model was limited in its two-part sensory zones, where as the latest prototype adds multiple sensory points to give the user a near life-like feeling in the limb.
“This is real progress, real hope for amputees. It will be the first prosthetic that will provide real-time sensory feedback for grasping,” Dr Micera said.
“It is clear that the more sensory feeling an amputee has, the more likely you will get full acceptance of that limb,” he told the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston.According to Micera, the new prototype provides fast, bidirectional flow of information between the man's nervous system and prosthetic hand, allowing the man to control the hand simply by his thoughts.
“The idea would be that it could deliver two or more sensations. You could have a pinch and receive information from three fingers, or feel movement in the hand and wrist,” Dr Micera said.
“We have refined the interface [connecting the hand to the patient], so we hope to see much more detailed movement and control of the hand."