This could be the most touchy-feely robotic limb yet. For the first time, brain stimulation has made it possible for a paralysed person to experience the sensation of touch via a bionic hand.
Robert Gaunt at the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and his team achieved this by implanting electrodes in the brain of Nathan Copeland, a 28-year-old quadriplegic.
These were inserted into the region of the brain that registers touch from the hand, and linked to a robotic hand in the same room via a computer. When this robotic hand was touched, it triggered stimulation of Copeland’s brain. “He feels these sensations coming from his own paralysed hand,” says Gaunt. Continue Reading »