We read on ieee.org an article in which they talk about the advances that are being made in the world of sensitive prosthetics.
In the text they comment on the experiments that are being carried out with some volunteers who lost one of their hands, experiments based on the development of an optic system that they are applying so that the plastic and metal can capture the sensations and send them to the individual as if an original member is involved.
The haptic system is defined as the individual's perception of the world adjacent to his body through the use of his own body, although in this case it is not using his own body and is a technology that, at the moment, can only be tested in the laboratory, since it depends on various cables and computers that process the information.The top illustration, created by Bryan Christie, shows the cables currently required in the prosthesis itself, with the output currently required for external computers.
Building a sophisticated neural stimulation device that actually works outside of the laboratory will not be easy. The prosthesis will have to continually monitor hundreds of touch and position sensors on the prosthesis and feed that information back to the implanted stimulator. The data will then have to be translated into a neural code that will be applied to the nerves in the arm, all in real time. At the same time, the system will determine the user's intention to move the prosthesis by recording the activity of up to 16 limb muscles. This information is decoded and transmitted wirelessly outside the body, and converted into motorized drive commands, which move the prosthesis. In total, the system will have 96 stimulation channels and 16 registration channels that must be coordinated to create movements and sensations.
Still, within the laboratory, impressive results have been obtained. The patient is capable of picking up extremely sensitive objects without damaging them, with a success rate of 93% applying this artificial optic system, a percentage less than 45% when not applied.
We are closer to achieving the dream of all those who have lost a member: recovering the sensations it produced.