As a result of the revolutionary project of a group of European specialists, a Swedish citizen became the first owner of a prosthetic arm that returns a sense of touch. In addition, robotic hand much more agile than conventional prostheses with motors.
An advanced surgery was performed at the University of Gothenburg hospital. A patient from Sweden was implanted with titanium implants in the radial bone and connected a prosthesis with live muscles and nerves with sixteen electrodes.
So the prosthesis was able to take commands of the brain and broadcast tactile sensations.
The technology was developed by the team of Dr. Max Ortiz Catalan in the framework of a larger European project DeTOP, which includes engineers and orthopedists from Italy, Great Britain, Sweden and Switzerland, writes Science Daily.
Modern prosthetic hands usually receive signals from the muscles through electrodes placed on the stump’s skin. This information is often limited and unreliable. As a rule, only a few rough actions can be performed – clasp and unclasp the palm, for example.
By implanting electrodes into the remaining muscles, more accurate and diverse signals can be obtained.
In particular, the British group was developing an algorithm that decodes brain signals and sends them to an artificial hand.
Another advantage of this technology is that the electrodes implanted in the nerves transmit touch sensations to the brain. Such a prosthesis is suitable for use in everyday life, and not only in laboratory conditions.
Now the patient is undergoing rehabilitation in order to regain her muscles and re-learn to control the missing hand in virtual reality. Next in line are two other patients from Italy and Sweden.
According to Daniel Melville, the owner of an exact copy of the prosthesis from a computer game Deus Ex, the future is already coming, and it’s a bit scary.