Feeds

Swedish cyborg gets haptic hand

'Perfectly good nerve endings' plugged in once again

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Boffins in Israel and the EU have fitted a Swedish man with a robotic hand which has a two-way hookup to the nerves in his arm: not only can he operate the hand as if it were his own, he can feel with it too.

The SmartHand cyber-appendage developed by EU and Israeli boffins. Credit: AFTAU

Touchy-feely technology.

"I grab something hard, and then I can feel it in the fingertips, which is strange, as I don't have them anymore. It's amazing," says Robin af Ekenstam.

The device, dubbed "SmartHand", apparently contains four motors and forty sensors and can do everything that a normal hand can in terms of articulation, gripping etc. However, such machinery is fairly commonplace; what makes the SmartHand special is the linkage to the nerves in Ekenstam's stump.

"Perfectly good nerve endings remain at the stem of a severed limb," says Professor Yosi Shacham-Diamand of Tel Aviv Uni, one of the boffins behind the mechanoid appendage. "Our team is building the interface between the device and the nerves in the arm, connecting cognitive neuroscience with state-of-the-art information technologies."

Prof Shacham-Diamand, according to TAU spokespersons, runs "one of the top labs in the world for nano-bio-interfacing science", and the special nerve hookup tech is his and his team's contribution to the project.

"Our challenge," remarks the prof, "was to make an electrode that was not only flexible, but could be implanted in the human body and function properly for at least 20 years."

It's early days yet, but apparently Ekenstam is dead chuffed with his new robo-hand so far. It reportedly took very little training to learn how to use it.

In addition to the Tel Aviv lab crew, boffins in Italy, Denmark, Ireland, Iceland and Sweden contributed to the project. The plan is now to refine the tech - offering more sensory input, for instance - and then perhaps to apply it to other limbs.

The announcement from TAU can be read here. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.