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Bionic hand in prototype state gives amputee ability to 'feel'

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The technology has finally arrived that allows those wearing prosthetics to “feel” again. According to an Entrepreneur report on Feb. 6, the technology involved requires electrodes to be surgically implanted into nerves and then connected to a bionic prosthetic.

Dennis Aabo , a man who lost his hand in a firework accident in 2004, tried out a bionic hand and was able to identify object shape and stiffness while blindfolded. An team of international robotic experts helped put it all together.

That instant marks the first time that an amputee has been able to experience feelings associated with touch through a bionic hand. The BBC reports that the hand was fitted with sensors that could detect and measure information relating to touch. That information was then translated through computer algorithms into electrical signals that emitted to the sensory nerves.

A total of four electrodes were implanted into Aabo’s upper arm which ended up connecting the electrodes in the hand to receptors in the brain. After going through a month of tests on the electrodes in his arm, they were connected to the bionic hand.

He said, "It was intuitive to use, and incredible to be able to feel whether objects were soft or hard, square or round."

The bionic hand is just a prototype, so Aabo had to have the electrodes removed by surgery. However, researchers say he is a hero to give up his time to be able to test this device.

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