Prosthetic Hand with a Sense of Touch
Cleveland, OH - Researchers at the Cleveland VA Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University recently developed an artificial hand that provides something similar to a sense of touch.
“If the amputee is actually able to feel something, you’re getting close to creating a naturally functioning prosthetic hand…something that actually feels like a part of you,” said Dustin Tyler, director of VA’s artificial hand project at the Cleveland VA. “What we’ve come up with here is a step in that direction.”
Tyler and his team have been working on this project since 1992. Currently it remains in the early lab testing phase. But researchers hope to get the device into broader use sometime within the next 10 years.
“The computer-based interface we came up with can relay a sense of touch from 20 different spots on the hand,” Tyler explained. “Sensors in the hand are connected to electrodes that deliver signals to three nerves in the arm. So when you touch something, your brain will actually perceive that you’re touching something.”
Currently, only a few patients have been outfitted with the experimental hand. Keith Vonderhuevel, an Army Veteran, is one of them. He lost his hand in an industrial accident in 2005, and now spends many hours in the Cleveland research lab, helping VA researchers fine-tune his prosthetic hand. Continue>
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