Quirks & Quarks

Next-generation prosthetic restores touch

Researchers are working on an exquisitely sensitive prosthetic system that mimics the sense of touch of a real hand
Implanted peripheral nerve electrodes deliver stimulation directly to the nerve (Emily L. Graczyk)

The prosthetics that most of us are familiar with are like tools connected to the body. They generally don't give much feedback to the user.  In the case of artificial hands, they're often claw-like grabbers. Dr. Dustin Tyler's lab is working on a next generation prosthetic that restores a human-like sense of touch by tapping into the user's neural network.

It turns out the brain doesn't know the difference between the real hand and the prosthetic. Sound futuristic? Maybe. But this prosthetic system has already made a difference to Keith Vonderheuvel both in the lab and at home. He shares his story with Bob, and Dr. Tyler shares the science behind it. 

Related Links:

  • Paper in Science Translational Medicine
  • Tech Times story
  • Video of Igor Septic's experiences with this sensitive prosthetic