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article imageAdvances in artificial limbs

By Tim Sandle     Oct 12, 2014 in Science
Artificial limbs and their wearers are achieving more sensitive communication thanks to engineering advances. These advances have been captured in two science studies.
Artificial limbs cannot fully replace missing body parts, however the technology is advancing. Two studies published in Science Translational Medicine demonstrate improvements in limb technology. Both studies describe how wearers can have a more realistic sense of touch and that prostheses can now more reliably interpret wearers’ intentions.
One experiment ("A neural interface provides long-term stable natural touch perception"), describes a neural device implanted into the arms of two amputees that can stimulate nerves to mimic touch. The system feels more like natural pressure, even enabling the wearers to successfully pick the stems off cherries without squashing the fruit. There is one drawback: the electrodes from the implement protrude through the skin.
In the second study, Max Ortiz Catalan of Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, and his colleagues implanted a neural interface, anchored to the bone of an amputee, that allowed for improved control of the limb’s movement. This study is titled "An osseointegrated human-machine gateway for long-term sensory feedback and motor control of artificial limbs."
Discussing the two studies, Mandayam Srinivasan, a neuroengineer at MIT told the website Science: "All of these results are very positive. Each of them fills a piece of the puzzle in terms of prosthesis development."
More about Artificial limbs, Prostheses, Prosthesis, Neuroscience
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