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Bionic Fingertip Research Could Return Sense of Touch to Amputees

Bioengineers from Italy’s Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies’ BioRobotics Institute have implanted electrodes into an amputee’s upper arm in order to determine whether they could simulate the sense of touch in his missing fingertip. Study researchers previously conducted this research using a temporary electrode array in subjects who still had their fingertips and found that they were able to identify different textures via the signals sent to their nerve by the artificial finger.

When the team conducted the experiment in cooperation with an amputee who recently lost the lower portion of his arm, Dennis Aabo Sørensen, and using a more permanently implantable electrode array, they realized a 96% rate of successful texture identification. This research elevates hopes of providing prostheses to amputees that could return very useful levels of sensory perception.

Click here to read the publication in the journal eLife.