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A bionic hand has been created which allows an amputee to feel lifelike sensations from their fingers.

Dennis Aabo, who lost his left hand in a firework accident nearly a decade ago, said the hand was “amazing”.

In laboratory tests he was able to tell the shape and stiffness of objects he picked up, even when blindfolded. A internation team of surgeons operating in Italy added sensors to the artificial hand which could detect and measure information about touch. Using computer algorithms, the scientists transformed the electrical signals they emitted into an impulse that sensory nerves could interpret. This new soft wear and associated electronics represents a major advance.

Four electrodes were implanted onto nerves in the patient’s upper arm. These were connected to the artificial sensors in the fingers of the prosthetic hand, so allowing touch and pressure feedback to be sent direct to the brain.

Dennis Aabo spent a month doing laboratory tests of the bionic hand. He said: “The biggest difference was when I grabbed something I could feel what I was doing without having to look. I could use the hand in the dark. It was intuitive to use, and incredible to be able to feel whether objects were soft or hard, square or round.”

At yet permanent devices such as these have not been given approval and Mr Aabo had to have the arm and sensors removed. The technology needs to be miniaturised and the bulky external cables need to be made so that they can be internal. However progress is being made.It is possible that one day artificial limbs may be better than our real ones.[See my book -Medical School Interviews The Knowledge P47/48.] An hearing device has been created that is better than the human ear and prosthetic arms have been created that are stronger than real ones. Will cyborgs be common in the future and represent the way for humanity? I recommend the 10 min you tube video below. Will the rich be able to be super human! No doubt there will be plenty of ethical dilemmas.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/3d-printed-bionic-ear-hears-better-than-the-real-thing/

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