The Man With A Cyber Prosthetic Hand To Return The Feeling
The new neuro interface allows you not only to control the movement of paralyzed limbs but also to feel touch and experience other tactile sensations. A description of the invention by American neurophysiologists was published in the scientific journal Cell.
"Until now, our patient Ivan felt as if his hand was "foreign." He couldn't control it properly if he didn't constantly look at where it was going and how it was moving. This requires serious concentration and does not allow you to perform even the simplest actions at the same time," commented one of the developers, a neurophysiologist from the Battel Memorial Institute (USA), Patrick Ganzer.
So-called neural interfaces are a combination of microchips, electrodes, and computer algorithms. They allow you to connect various cyber limbs, artificial eyes, or even synthetic sense organs like thermal or x-ray imagers to the brain of a human or animal.
For example, in 2012, scientists first connected an artificial hand to the brain of a paralyzed woman. Thanks to this prosthesis, the woman was able to drink a Cup of coffee and perform some other actions on her own. In 2016, experts from the American University of Duke connected the patient's brain to a robotic wheelchair, and a year ago, they used a special spinal cord stimulator to restore the ability to walk.
The development and use of such cyber-extremities, as Giner notes, is now hindered by the fact that their owner can not feel their movement when an artificial leg or hand touches the floor, the surface of the table, and other obstacles. As recent experiments by neurophysiologists show, tactile sensations play a very important role in how the brain "learns" to control its own and cybernetic limbs.
Ganzer and his team solved this problem. For the past six years, they have been working on creating a neuro interface that allows patients to directly "connect" their hands to the brain, bypassing damaged areas of the spine.