Friday, 18 March 2016

Bionic Fingertip' Offers Feeling

Bionic

Artificial Fingertip Provides Physical Feedback


An artificial fingertip providing physical feedback to the user had been developed by European researchers. Amputee Dennis Aabo Sorensen had taken part in a clinical trial that had his nerves surgically linked to the bionic fingertip enabling him to experience feeling as well as distinguish between the different surfaces. The new bionic fingertip helped the amputee to feel smooth and the rough textures.

Developed by scientist at Ecole polytechnique federale de Lausanne –EPFL, Switzerland and Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Italy, the artificial fingertip had been connected to the nerves in the upper arm of amputee. The device provided Sorensen the ability of distinguishing between rough and smooth surfaces with 96% accuracy according to the report.

Sorensen mentioned that the stimulation felt almost like what he felt with his hand. For the success of this, the nerves in the arm of the amputee had to be connected to the artificial fingertip and a machine controlled the movement of the device as it felt the textured plastic. While the fingertip moved along the plastic, the sensor generated an electrical signal which was translated in a series of electrical spikes to replicate the nervous system, before delivering to Sorensen’s nerves.

Tactile Information Delivered Through Fine Needles


According to the team behind the study, they state that they compared the results of the bionic finger with those of non-amputees. They mentioned in a press release that `the tactile information was delivered through fine needles which were temporarily attached to the arm’s median nerve through the skin. The non-amputees were in a position to distinguish roughness in textures 77% of the time’.

The research is said to be the latest in growing cannon of global work involving improved functions of artificial limbs and the work comprises of prosthetic which tend to operate with brain machine interfaces. A separate mind controlled limb, in February had enabled a person to wiggle individual fingers of bionic hand for the first time, where the researchers at Johns Hopkins University had tested the prosthetic on a non-amputee.

However they already had 128 electrodes implanted surgically in the brain to help in monitoring epilepsy. With the use of the pre-developed system, the researchers mapped the person’s brain, taking control of the arm.

Cybathlon- Swiss Hosted Olympics for Bionic Athletes


BrainGate, a company creating brain-machine interfaces, had individually developed a chip which could be inserted into the brain in order to control a robotic arm. The work from BrainGate enabled users to be capable of moving the arm, for instance to raise a glass to their mouth.

In order to encourage the research of bionic limbs as well as brain controlled devices, it is said that October would be seeing the first Cybathlon, which is a Swiss hosted Olympics for bionic athletes and their robotic technologies. Working on the project, Calogero Oddo stated that enabling an amputee to be able in differentiating between textures would be utilised over numerous industries.

 He adds that `it would also be translated to other applications like artificial touch in robotic for surgery, rescue as well as manufacturing. From the earlier work of EPFL, Sorensen was able to feel sensory information using a complete artificial hand.. Conducted in 2014, the work enabled him to grasp objects as well as able to identify what he had been touching on being blindfolded.

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