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Man Feels Sensations in His Paralyzed Hand Through a Robotic Prosthetic

October 17, 2016



Researchers from University of Pittsburgh and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), successfully managed to bring back the feeling of sensation to a man severely paralyzed a decade earlier. The 28 year-old had electrodes from a brain-computer interface (BCI) implanted into the primary somatosensory cortex of his brain. The BCI was connected to a robotic arm with built-in tactile sensors. The sensors relayed their measurements back through the BCI and the man actually felt the touches as though his real hand was coming in contact. Importantly, the feeling of touch varied depending on the amount of electrical stimulation delivered, which the researchers believe is a sign that more nuanced tactile feedback will one day be possible.

“I can feel just about every finger—it’s a really weird sensation,” Nathan Copeland said about a month after surgery, according to UPMC. “Sometimes it feels electrical and sometimes its pressure, but for the most part, I can tell most of the fingers with definite precision. It feels like my fingers are getting touched or pushed.”

The electrode array and its controller were provided by Blackrock Microsystems, while the robotic arm is the famous one from Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Lab. Currently only pressure is transmitted, but mapping other areas of the brain and leading electrode arrays to them should also offer the ability to transmit other sensations, such as heat.

Study in journal Science Translational Medicine: Intracortical microstimulation of human somatosensory cortex…

Via: Pitt-UPMC…

Source: Man Feels Sensations in His Paralyzed Hand Through a Robotic Prosthetic | Medgadget

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