Feature

This robotic hand restores amputees' sense of touch

"I know it sounds simple, but it's amazing."

A robotic arm made at the University of Utah.

"Keven Walga­mott wasn't sure what to expect when scientists first hooked up what was left of his arm to a computer," said William Wan at The Washington Post. Walgamott, who had lost most of his left arm and hand 14 years earlier in an electrical accident, volunteered for an experimental project at the University of Utah, where researchers were working on a robotic arm "controlled by an amputee's own nerves." Researchers planted electrodes into Walga­mott's arm nerves and muscles that sent signals to his nervous system, giving him the sensation of touch.

University of Utah

Doctors say "adding touch to prostheses markedly improves motor skills of amputees, compared with other robotic prostheses"; it also reduces the sensation of phantom pain. Now fitted with the fully feeling robot hand, Walga­mott can pick up a grape without crushing it, and he's particularly delighted at being able to put on pillowcases. "I know it sounds simple, but it's amazing," he says.

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