Woman is given first robotic hand that allows user to touch and feel
The first robotic hand that enables the amputee to touch and feel has been given to a Swedish woman.
The revolutionary mechanical limb is controlled by electrodes connected to nerves and muscles in the stump.
Signals pass “tactile sensations” to the nerves while allowing the body to control a range of motions similar to a real hand.
British researchers involved in the EU-funded project say the battery-powered limb could be available on the NHS within a few years.
Dr Luca Citi, of Essex University, said: “This is a big thing. Currently amputees would have to watch their prosthetic hand if they are picking up, say a plastic cup, to check they are not crushing it.
“If you have to constantly look at the hand it limits what you can do with it.” The amputee, who does not wish to be named, is now learning how to control her new hand using virtual technology.
Two more patients, in Italy and Sweden, are to be fitted with one of the prosthetic hands in the next few months.
Dr Citi said: “It’s not as good as a real hand but it’s good enough for people to be able to go about their daily lives.”