A new bionic hand will connect to a patient’s nervous system, giving them a sense of touch. The first surgery testing the device will take place later this year on a young man in Rome, according to Silvestro Micera of the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland.
It is hoped that the bionic hand will provide sensory perception, allowing the patient to control its movement and receive touch signals from its skin sensors.
The Independent reports that it will be attached directly to the patient’s nervous system via electrodes clipped onto two of the arm’s main nerves, which should allow him to control it with his thoughts. Dr. Micera told the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting:
This is real progress, real hope for amputees. It will be the first prosthetic that will provide real-time sensory feedback for grasping. It is clear that the more sensory feeling an amputee has, the more likely you will get full acceptance of that limb. We could be on the cusp of providing new and more effective clinical solutions to amputees in the next year.
The patient will wear the bionic hand for a month to see how he adapts to it and if it takes, a full working model will be ready for testing within two years.