Robotic hand gives amputees a sense of touch

Swedish and Italian scientists have created the first ever robotic hand to give amputees a sense of touch.

When pressed against an object the 40 sensors in the Smarthand get activated. These sensors are surgically connected to nerves in the arm, allowing the hand's wearer to 'feel' objects they are holding.

They stimulate nerves in the arm to activate the appropriate part of the brain. This allows patients to feel objects they are holding, reports Sky News.

Robin af Ekenstam, the first amputee to try the robotic hand, said it was just like using his real hand. "It's a feeling I have not had in a long time," said Robin.

"When I grab something tightly I can feel it in the fingertips. It's strange since I don't have them any more! It's amazing," he added.

The motors are connected to nerves in the arm that once moved Robin's real digits. Thanks to the "hand", he's able to pick up a plastic water bottle, without crushing it, and pour himself a drink. It has four motors, which move the thumb and fingers.

Professor Goran Lundborg, a surgeon at Malmo University Hospital, said the artificial hand - which was funded by the European Commission - was a significant advance.

"If you find the right spot the correct areas of the brain cortex will be activated. If you put pressure on the index finger of the artificial hand then the index finger area of the brain will be activated," he said.

The Smarthand integrates recent advances in nanobioscience, cognitive neuroscience and information technologies to develop a robotic prosthetic hand with all basic features displayed by a real one.

The researchers claims it differs in focus and concept to other recent projects such as the Artificial Hand, CyberHand and Freehand.

Via -

Categories: , ,


Post a Comment