Home » News » The Defense Biz » Scientists Develop Touch in Prosthetics

Scientists Develop Touch in Prosthetics

by Bryant Jordan on February 9, 2014

TouchResearchers have made significant advances in recent years in developing and building better prosthetics from legs that enable an amputee to walk to arms and hands controlled by the brain.

But a Chicago researcher working on a project funded by the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency says it’s not enough for the brain to send a signal to a limb. It’s important for the brain to get a signal back to restore a sense of touch.

“To restore sensory motor function of an arm, you not only have to replace the motor signals that the brain sends to the arm to move it around, but you also have to replace the sensory signals that the arm sends back to the brain,” Sliman Bensmaia, an assistant professor in the university’s Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy, said in October, when the research was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“We think the key is to invoke what we know about how the brain of the intact organism processes sensory information, and then try to reproduce these patterns of neural activity through stimulation of the brain,” he said.

Bensmaia’s work with DARPA, if successful, is a big step in developing a prosthetic that a fully functional artificial limb, since the wearer would not only have the ability to  pick up objects with the ease of thought – say a hammer or an egg – but would feel the difference.

In the lab, the researchers have already had some success using monkeys, and have been cleared for human trials. The work requires electrodes be implanted in the brain.

What they have done is linked artificial fingertips to the brains of rhesus monkeys trained to signal when they feel contact or pressure to their own real fingertips. Once parts of the brain responsible for receiving and interpreting signals for a range of sensations, including heat, cold, weight, etc., are identified, they would be linked to a prosthetic that incorporates sensors that in real time instantly transmits this data to the brain.

Once perfected, the wearer would feel the object in the same way he would with a human hand.

In July, DefenseTech reported on work at the University of Tokyo that could lead to an artificial skin that would provide a sense of touch or feeling to wearers of prostheses.

In that project, engineer Martin Kaltenbrunner is developing an ultra-thin, featherweight electronic sensor foil that can be shaped or molded to any surface.

Share |

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

claudioalp February 10, 2014 at 4:46 am

This is fantastic and excellent for buddies for they may retutn to a normal life, a normal activity, the prostetic hand doning them the same sensation of lost organ. I an glad for them, glad they may have not the sensation to be mutilated but, instead, those of be able, as ever, to have on touch the same sensation to have the same dexterity, to have a hand also more sensible. I may not describe the happiness befotre the meet between science, techonolgie and service to man. thanks for this, thanks very much. claudio alpaca

Reply

anthony bauwens February 10, 2014 at 6:07 am

Even youre health has the highest prize,lets hope we dont haVE TO MAKE TO MANY,sTAYING HEALTHY!!

Reply

hibeam February 10, 2014 at 3:33 pm

I read your post and it was as if Ernest Hemingway had come back to us.

Reply

hibeam February 10, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Spend more money on drones and we won't need these prosthetic limbs for our guys. The Taliban might though. They can use wooden pegs.

Reply

JohnnyRanger February 10, 2014 at 8:10 pm

I would love to see this technology come to fruition for our heroes. I'd bet a month's pay that it could become a practical reality for the price of a single LCS or a handful of JSFs. Unfortunately we seem to prefer buying systems like these, which would make this technology even more needed if we ever deployed them in combat! Rant ended :-)

Reply

du lich myanmar March 23, 2014 at 8:22 pm

It’s an amazing paragraph in support of all the web users; they will get advantage from it I am sure.

Reply

Xét Nghiệm Vệt Dầu Loang Nghi Của Máy Bay Malaysia April 28, 2014 at 4:26 am

Whats up this is kinda of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use
WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding knowledge so I wanted to get guidance from someone
with experience. Any help would be enormously
appreciated!

Reply

Music Marketing Tips And Tricks May 5, 2014 at 7:41 am

After exploring a number of the articles on your web page, I truly like your technique of writing a blog.

I bookmarked it to my bookmark webpage list and will be
checking back soon. Please visit my website as well and tell me what you think.

Reply

หมึกปริ้นเตอร์ May 17, 2014 at 3:36 am

Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful article.

Thanks for supplying this information.

Reply

the sims freeplay June 20, 2014 at 3:08 pm

whoah this weblog is wonderful i like reading your articles.
Stay up the good work! You understand, many individuals are looking arond for
this info, youu can aid them greatly.

Reply

Sasha June 24, 2014 at 1:49 pm

If you are going for most excellent contents like I do, only pay a visit this web page all
the time as it provides feature contents, thanks

Reply

Mackenzie June 25, 2014 at 2:58 am

After looking at a number of the blog articles on your blog, I truly appreciate your way of blogging.
I saved as a favorite it to my bookmark website list
and will be checking back soon. Please check out my web site too and tell me how you feel.

Reply

castle clash game July 4, 2014 at 6:39 am

Hey there this is kind of of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use WYSIWYG eeditors or if you have to
manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but
have no coding experience so I wanted to get advice
fropm omeone witth experience. Any help would be greatly
appreciated!

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: