We have seen our fair share of prosthetic hands in the past, where they do offer a glimmer of hope to those who are missing a limb or two to live a somewhat more empowered life. The thing is, prosthetic hands will more often than not lack the sense of touch, which I am quite sure is not what Anakin Skywalker’s prosthetic hand is lacking in the Star Wars movies. The lack of touch would then make it nigh impossible to tell whether one should apply more or less force when holding or manipulating an object. Take the humble egg for instance – squeezing it hard enough would crack the shell, while not holding it hard enough, and it will slip right out of the prosthetic hand. Researchers at the Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University has come up with a new prosthetic hand tht has 20 embedded sensors which will be hooked up straight to the nerve bundles that are located in the user’s arm.
This method would then enable the user to pick up a sense of feeling, which comes in handy when it comes to handling items and everyday objects. This model is diffeent to other electrical stimulus methods of the past which will indirectly trigger the nerve impulses, as it approaches the matter by directly stimulating the same nerve endings which would be called into action back when everything was normal. It does seem to deliver a permanent effect without losing any form of effectiveness after a short while.
Filed in technologyreview.. Source: