Researchers have developed a bionic hand that allows amputees to feel sensations from the robot fingers by providing two way feedback systems.
Current hand prosthetics, as with all prosthetics, fail to provide feedback to the user in the same way the missing limb would. It’s only through this feedback we are able to accomplish many of the tasks we take for granted, from picking flowers to stroking a pet – all this involves relying on real-time data about the object we’re interacting with, and the same could be said for senses in our feet for walking. It’s no wonder then that researchers have been developing bi-directional prosthetics to overcome this issue.
By relaying information from artificial sensors on a hand prosthesis the research team, with members from Italy, Switzerland and Germany have been able to feed this information through remnant afferent pathways in order to provide a natural sensation of feeling to the user. This is done in conjunction with the decoding of the users intent for the bionic prosthetic limb (a feat already well in development and current use). This feedback has enabled amputees to provide appropriate grasping force without the need for visual or audible feedback which is more commonly found. Not only does is provide feedback for object manipulation and handling, it has also shown positive results in being able to identify the stiffness and shape of several objects, making it far more useful than current prosthetics.
The full published article can be found on Science Mag.