Prosthetic hand paired with brain stimulation gives monkey an artificial sense of touch


Each year prosthetic limbs become more incredible, whether they allow a wearer to run at Olympic speeds or are controlled by thought alone. But most still lack a sense of touch, which would give the wearer greater control and connection to their prosthetic limb.

University of Chicago researchers have published a paper detailing how stimulating a prosthetic limb wearer’s brain with electrical signals could replicate feelings of touch. They worked with monkeys, which they outfitted with electrodes connected to different areas of the brain associated with touch. The researchers studied their brain’s response to different types of touch to pinpoint the type and amount of electrical signal that would best replicate the sensation.

The monkeys went through several touch exercises with their normal hand and an unstimulated brain. The same exercises were conducted with a prosthetic hand, which was equipped with pressure sensors to register instances of touch. Pressure…

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