Researchers at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland Ohio have successfully developed an artificial limb that can inform the user about the different touches such as soft and firm that are essential to the when certain objects are being handled so the user does not damage the items or indeed their own artificial limb.
The functionally of this experimental artificial limb is based upon the restoration and the intertwining of residual key nerves that are in stump of the amputees limb that would control the hand and activate the sense of touch had the accident not occurred. In 2014 the university researchers wired the nerves to an external prosthetic with attached sensors that allow volunteers to sense the difference in textile materials.
When theses prosthetic sensors come upon contact with certain objects the portable simulator is activated which then sends electrical signals to the nerves.The signal is received by the sensors the artificial limb automatically alternates to the appropriate grip for example a cotton ball will have a light touch stimulation and sandpaper will have a ruff stimulation. The implanted electrodes allow users to feel the same intensity of touch in the artificial hand as they could in an organic hand this device is a developing step towards prosthetic limbs having touch sensitivity.
A volunteer name Keith Vonderhuevel (as depicted in the picture) who lost his arm below the elbow in a work accident first tested the experimental limb that allowed him to cradle his granddaughter without fear of hurting her with too much applied pressure.
Quotes: ‘Just to be able to touch and feel, it’s an amazing thing’ Mr Vonderhuevel.