Touchy-feely” bionic hands have come closer to reality as researchers are exploring new approaches to designing prosthetic hands capable of providing “sensory feedback”, says ANI.
University of Michigan’s Paul S. Cederna and colleagues wrote that emerging sensory feedback techniques will provide some sensation and enable more natural, intuitive use of hand prostheses, adding that these breakthroughs pave the way to the development of a prosthetic limb with the ability to feel.
As per the researchers, upper limb loss is a “particularly devastating” form of amputation, since a person’s hands are their tools for everyday function, expressive communication and other uniquely human attributes.
Current robotic prostheses approach the fine dexterity provided by the human hand, but these advances have outpaced developments in providing sensory feedback from artificial limb.
The lack of sensation is the key limitation to reestablishing the full functionality of the natural limb, they noted.
Providing some sense of touch to the artificial hand would lessen the cognitive burden of relying solely on vision to initiate and monitor movements, while also providing tremendous psychological benefits for patients.
The review focuses on recent and emerging technologies to create sensory interfaces with the peripheral nerves to provide feeling to prostheses.
Already in use is a technique called sensory substitution.