Only by using the subject's own muscles and nerves, the artificial hand can be controlled and the objects on the hand can be felt.
17 years ago, Keven Walgamott lost his left hand in an accident. Since then, many simple daily activities have become difficult for him, such as it is difficult for him to wear his own wedding ring.
with the help of a new type of prosthetic limb, he can not only redo this action, but also feel the object pinched at his fingertips and held in the prosthetic limb through touch. The results are published this week in Science-Robotics.
(one of the subjects Keven Walgamott)
here is a demo video of the study from the University of Utah:
the prosthesis they used for the subjects is called "luke arm", a previous version of which has been approved for sale by FDA. There are many options for controlling the signal source of the prosthetic limb, and here the signal that controls the movement of the prosthetic limb is the muscle electrical signal from the patient's stump. On this basis, the researchers also added tactile feedback to the prosthesis, and the process goes something like this: electrode arrays were implanted at the remaining ulnar nerve and median nerve of the subject's arm (both of which are related to the sensation of the hand). The original signal is obtained by the sensor on the prosthetic limb, and then the original signal is transformed according to the analysis of the natural nerve signal. The patient's own nerves are then stimulated by an electrode array so that the brain receives sensory signals that "seem to come from the hand".
this artificial tactile sense is not very accurate, or it is exactly the same as the natural tactile sensation (according to the paper, it sometimes turns into feelings of pain, vibration, and so on). But in the experiment, it did succeed in allowing blindfolded subjects to distinguish between size, soft and hard objects, and improved the accuracy of controlling prosthetic limbs. Only need to use their own nerves and muscles to control the prosthesis, and from the prosthesis to feel the object, the feeling is already very strong.
Research Source: https://robotics.sciencemag.org/content/4/32/eaax2352
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