Last February, Neurogadget reported that researchers at the University de Lausanne had begun clinical trials on a new generation of hand prosthetics. These prosthetics, unlike their predecessors, send ‘feeling’ back to the user by electrically stimulating the two major nerves in the arm.This past week, 36-year-old Dennis Aabo Sørensen, who is so far the only person to have been fitted with the new prosthesis. spoke out about his experience: “I didn’t realise it was possible,” he said, adding that “The feeling is very close to the sensation you get when you touch things with your normal hand.”
A series of tests verified that his ability to grip an object was more similar to a natural hand movement when he was using only tactile feedback than it was when he was using visual feedback, which is what most amputees have to rely on. The significance of this is that amputees outfitted with this bionic hand would be able to pick up objects without having to look at them.
For now the prosthetic can only be used for up to 30 days, since it is still unknown how the implanted stimulating electrodes will respond to long(er) term use. However, initial results are promising. At the 30 day mark, 90% of the electrodes were still in working order.