Vladislav Ociacia/iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Researchers at Case Western Reserve University say they have developed the next generation of prosthetics, which provide hand amputees the ability to feel “touch.”
The study, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, involved the implanting of electrodes into the upper arms of two amputees, which enabled them to generate unique impulses that allowed the amputees to sense fine touch, firm touch and pressure. That amputees were also better able to complete difficult routine tasks — such as plucking the stem from a cherry — when they could “feel.”
Researchers also said that the amputees claimed the implant eliminated the feeling of a “phantom hand,” or pain caused by the brain’s interpretation that the hand is still there.
A separate study in Sweden involving the implantation of electrodes directly into a patient’s bone gave him the ability to manipulate the prostheses via feedback from his brain.
Researchers in each study have eliminated the use of surface electrodes, previously the only way to allow for independent control of the prostheses. Further testing will likely be required before the technology is made widely available.
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio