For decades now, a simple prosthetic have been a source of aid for anyone losing a limb. The thought of being able to feel touch with the amputated or lost limb was never a question, but modern technology is giving second chances.
The latest development is an electronic skin that can sense pressure when it is applied. This is an absolutely amazing breakthrough, allowing for nerve sells, and printed organic electronic circuits to work with each other. The credit of this tech goes to Zhenan Bao who had already developed something similar in the past, but lacked functions allowing for a range of touch. Bao says that the circuit is actually ‘simple to build’ on, which opens up the opportunity for individuals who haven’t been able to feel from the average prosthetic.
This technology is similar in nature to how we feel vibrations to nerves when using a tens unit. The Tens devices have been around for some time, and even amputee individuals have been known to use them in certain areas where the body will trigger a false sense of pain. With the new ability to add sensory to the prosthetic, an individual might be able to tell the mind that it is feeling what would naturally be there. An advancement that no doubt would make the best tens unit appear as a novice.
There is no set time on when these options would be available to the general public, but you can be sure that Doctor Bao and his team will keep working to improve the sensory on touch and open up new opportunities for sensory through pulses and frequency in other parts of the body where feeling may have been lost.
Proof of the concept will be key in moving forward, but Bao and his team have already successfully stimulated neurons in the brains of mice which has triggered response. This is a large step in bringing this technology to the masses even possibly within the next decade.