Advanced Prosthetics That Can Feel
Clinicians have long known that insensate hands tend to be almost useless even if they have normal motor function. Anyone who has tried to use their hands when their fingertips are numb from the cold also knows this. Nevertheless, designers of prosthetic hands have been reluctant to incorporate tactile sensing because their products need to be simple, robust and cost-effective to fit and maintain. We have discovered how to combine the natural compliance of human fingertips with simple contact sensing and biomimetic reflexes to meet those demanding requirements.