Scientists have already gone the distance when it comes to mimic the human nervous system. When a person loses his hands or fingers, he cannot determine the softness or rigidity of objects he touches. While such person can grip things or write, he loses the sense of touch forever. However, with the help of the world’s first artificial finger, they could develop that much-needed sense of touch. Institutions across Europe have been trying hard to create an artificial device, a biomimetic finger that can be connected to the human brain.
Before scientists could devise one, they will have to find ways to integrate tactile pressure sensors inside an artificial finger. Researchers at Birmingham University, in the UK, are carrying out experiments with a brain hemorrhage patient whose left arm was useless. The subject has to tell how he feels when he touches a rough or smooth surface; a computer analyzed the neural activity. This could help researchers in tracking “how the brain takes the information and uses it,” i.e. finding the neural network that connects hand to brain. The current model can recognize surfaces with 90% accuracy.
The European Commission is providing funds for this project.