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Artificial Fingertip Lets Amputee Feel Textures

Bionic fingertip lets recognize material's texture 96% of the time
Bionic fingertip lets recognize material’s texture 96% of the time, photo credit: Hillary Sanctuary/EPFL

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne have created an artificial fingertip that is connected directly to the nervous systems of an amputee. Using a fingertip covered with high-tech sensors, a patient has been able to feel different textures, grainy and smooth surfaces. The engineers have already integrated the bionic fingertip into a prosthetic hand.

Feeling texture with a bionic fingertip

Silvestro Micera, head of the translational neural engineering lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, said:

“The more we are able to reach the complexity of the natural sense of touch, the more usable the device will be”.

How it works:

An amputee feels textures features in realtime
photo credit: EPFL/Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies’ BioRobotics Institute

Sensors in the bionic fingertip generate a series of electrical signals that imitate the native signals of the nervous system and deliver directly to patient’s nerves. He could recognize material’s texture 96% of the time, using only the bionic device. The researchers said, that their patient’s brain activity during the whole experiment was identical to the brain activity of a completely healthy non-amputees. So, the bionic fingertip lets amputee feel different textures and exactly imitate the feeling of touch from real fingers.

For more information, visit: EPFL.

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