- The Washington Times - Friday, December 6, 2013

Ohio researchers have made a breakthrough discovery and created a new prosthetic hand that allows amputees to actually feel what their fake fingers touch.

The team of scientists from Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University has found a new way of connecting nerves with electrodes that allow amputees to feel and pick up physical sensations via sensors that are strategically placed on the prosthetic hand or fingers, The Daily Mail reported. They can touch and feel on a total of 20 different spots on the fake hand, the scientists said.

The big breakthrough is due to a 7-millimeter connector that joins the nerves that are bundled at the stump of the arm to a cuff electrode on the prosthetic, The Daily Mail reported.

And so far, researchers have discovered the sensation of touch lasts at least 18 months — a significant breakthrough in itself. Other trials of technology to give amputees the sensation of touch in their prosthetics have ended with a degraded sensation in the nerves, The Daily Mail said.

“This is the greatest number of distinct touch sensations generated by peripheral nerve stimulation that I know of, and the 18-month-long stability is also unsurpassed,” said Northwestern University neuroscience professor Lee Miller, to MIT Technology Review.

So far, two people have been outfitted with the new technology.

“It’s real exciting,” said Igor Spetic, who’s been testing the prosthetic technology, in The Daily Mail. “I know that science takes a long time. If I don’t get something to take home but the next person does, it’s all to the better.”

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