The Sense Of Touch: Is It The Next Step In Artificial Limbs?

When someone loses a full or partial limb in their lower and upper extremities, artificial limbs help that person return to a more normal life. Prosthetic limbs can restore a person's ability to walk, run and other capabilities that were lost along with the limb. New advances in artificial limbs have lead to hands that can grasp and make gestures, so what's the next logical step? According to MIT Technology review, it is prostheses with feeling. 

How Does It Work? 

The future advances in artificial limb technology use a neural interface that not only allows the prosthetic to move more effectively, but also stimulates the brain or nerves to allow people to feel their artificial limb and restore the sense of touch.

For this artificial devices to work properly, the doctor must implant microscopic electrodes into the brain, which are capable of listening to brain activity. The microscopic electrodes intercept brain-generated motor commands and uses these signals to control a prosthetic device. 

What Does This Mean For Amputees?

This advancement in prosthetic devices can give an amputee an arm and hand that is more like a real limb. This means increasing the ability to hold onto small objects and control the amount of pressure used when grasping objects.

The sense of touch is crucial to a person's ability to grasp and manipulate objects.This could greatly improve a person's quality of life and allow them to use their new device more effectively and make even small ordinary tasks, like holding onto a glass, turning a doorknob, or picking up keys easier. 

How Close Are These Devices?

Touch-sensitive prosthetic limbs are still undergoing research, study and trials. Researchers have conducted successful trials with monkeys. Human trials are the logical next step, which are underway. This means amputees will have to wait until research is complete. So far, the trials conducted with people have gone well, and the prospect of touch-sensitive prosthetic devices coming to fruition in the future look promising. 

These advancements in prosthetic devices are a good example of how this technology is advancing. Advancements in the field of prosthetic devices can be challenging, but there are people out there up to the challenge in a quest to make the life of an amputee as normal as possible.

If you or a loved one has lost a limb, you can discuss what types of artificial limbs are available now and keep your eyes on the future, which is likely to bring some extraordinary advances in this field. For more information contact a company like Cotton Orthotic and Prosthetic to learn more.