Brain-Implanted Device Restores Sense of Touch of a Spinal Cord Injured man

Saturday, October 15, 2016 - 13:08

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have discovered a mind-controlled robotic arm that has pressure sensors in each fingertip and sends signals to the brain.

According to the Guardian, Nathan Copeland, a 28-year old American, lost all sensation from the chest downwards ten years ago in a car accident and in 2015, he became the first paralysis patient to test a sensory-enhanced robotic hand, which he controlled using just his brain and that also allowed him to “feel” when the hand was being touched.

A few months ago, researchers gave Copeland a new way to reach out and feel the world around him through a mind-controlled robotic arm that has pressure sensors in each fingertip that send signals directly to Copeland's brain.

As Robert Gaunt, a senior author of the study and a neuroengineering researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, explained, researchers have restored sensations of touch in the arms of people with amputations by stimulating nerves in the remaining parts of their arms. However, such work could not help restore touch in people with spinal cord injuries, who have damage in the central nervous system,

The scientists published details of their work online in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

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