Hold it, feel it

Published April 24, 2020

Researchers at the Battelle Memorial Institute have found a way to implant a chip into the brains of people with spinal cord injuries that can restore motion to paralyzed limbs and, crucially, amplify the sense of touch. (And yes, they found, that sense of touch still exists — it’s just too weak for the patients to realize.)

This is a Big Deal because no previous brain-interface system like this allows patients to use their sense of touch, whether controlling their own limbs or a robotic one.

When having Burkhart [the patient] complete these movement tasks (like grabbing an object) blindfolded, the researchers found that the addition of these stimuli allowed him to do so far better than just chance, with a detection rate as high as 90 percent.

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