Robotic Hand That Senses Touch (w/ Video)

Oct 21, 2009 by John Messina weblog
Smart Hand Project
The Smart Hand allows its user to feel what it senses, allowing for precise control.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Developed by researchers at Lund University in Sweden and Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in Italy, the Smart Hand project has given patient, Robin af Ekenstam (see video) the sense of touch in his new prosthesis hand.

The Smart Hand is an intricate prosthesis that incorporates four motors and forty designed to provide practical motion and senses to the person using it. This is the first device of its kind that sends signals back to the brain, allowing the user to have feelings in their and hand.

The Smart Hand takes advantage of the phantom limb syndrome which is the sensation amputees have that their missing body part is still attached.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.


(Video Credit: BBC News)

By using the impulses from the brain that travel down the neurons to the site of amputation, scientists can use these signals and direct them to a mechanical device. This makes Smart Hand unique because it takes advantage of the phantom limb pathways that are available. By connecting sensors in the hand to the nerve endings in the stump of the arm, patients can feel and control the Smart Hand.

The Smart Hand project is far from creating a limb that functions as a normal hand since there are millions of nerves in a biological hand. The Smart Hand prototype represents more than 10 years of dedication and team work. Contributors from other countries include researchers in Denmark, Israel, Ireland, and Iceland.

Considering it has taken 10 years of hard work to come this far, it will take much less time to make large improvements. Whether improvements are made in the Smart Hand Project or other projects, we can expect to see substantial improvement in prosthetic work within a short amount of time.

One day those suffering from missing limbs may be able to recover at a rate beyond their expectation. Within the next decade, prostheses may be able to feel as natural as our biological part.

© 2009 PhysOrg.com

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User comments : 10

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Birthmark
not rated yet Oct 21, 2009
This is amazing that we can do this. They said it took 10 years to get to the hand they have in the video, imagine another 10 years with it already developed and made!
WithOneT
not rated yet Oct 21, 2009
We can rebuild him, we have the technology...
weirmeir
5 / 5 (1) Oct 21, 2009
but 8 million bucks seems a bit steep.
weirmeir
3 / 5 (2) Oct 21, 2009
time was you could get a whole bionic man for around 6.
Arikin
1 / 5 (1) Oct 21, 2009
Nice work on the feedback being sent back to the user. I wonder how long it takes for each user to learn to manipulate it. Assumed much faster with the feedback. It is not like corresponding nerve endings are conveniently tagged. :-)
diva4d
not rated yet Oct 22, 2009
Wonderful indeed! In 20 years then, people wil voluntarily be amputating limbs to replace them with massively superior prosthetics... Lets see - I'll only be 53 then... Good timing!
Diotrephes
not rated yet Oct 22, 2009
No, in 10 years time - the smart-cock. (I mean the bird of course)
CreepyD
not rated yet Oct 22, 2009
Amazing to see.
There's no reason they can't make it much stronger than a real hand too, though would there be moral implications in doing so?
I wonder how close to a real hand it will get with time and practise under his belt!
Buyck
not rated yet Oct 22, 2009
Humans and robots coming closer to each other every year. In 2020-2025 many people will living with robots or many of them will be the two. Just like the example above. Its likely that the advancing technology will be integrated into our body or brain by the time. And its likely that we can improve ourselves with updates and other technology's. That is not so far away as we think.
richie
not rated yet Oct 24, 2009
hehe,something someone jus said (buyck)has got me laughing..never realised it before.Updates...really...like u know most people will probably have to implant the same hardware architecture coz repeated invasive procedures are a risk and 100 percent unpopular..and to upgrade,they'l probably have to really on O.S. systems that improve on former control algorithms to better enhance the 'cyborg' reality..and that's why am laughing..O.S. systems..ur new terrorist won't worry about the ammonium nitrate his hiding in the back of his truck..he'l jus learn how to program..and script a program that kills (harsh,i know but somthing to that effect)..and it would'n be so far fetched considering seamless information channels and data-transfer protocols will probably be intergrated into ur brain..that's if u want the internet at the palm of ur...tips?brain?....Its scary and funny..definately a future am not amused to indulge in..be a human,not ur multi-tasking coffee machine.

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