The nerves of non-amputee persons can be stimulated in the same way to feel roughness, without surgery, which proves that prosthetic touch sensors for amputees can be tested quite safely on able-bodied people.
The technology used was developed by Silvestro Micera and his team at EPFL (Switzerland) and SSSA (Italy) in collaboration with Calogero Oddo and his team at SSSA. The results, published in eLife open new windows on the development of bionic prostheses, improved by sensory perception.
“The stimulus had almost the same effect as would I feel with my hand," explained Dennis Aabo Sørensen, a hand amputee, about the finger connected to his stump. He continued: “I still feel my missing hand as if I have a closed fist. I felt sensations of texture again at the tip of the index finger of my phantom hand.”