Imagine being able to feel the texture of an object with a prosthetic hand, just like you would with a natural hand. Thanks to groundbreaking research, this is becoming a reality. Scientists have developed a cutting-edge technology that integrates liquid […]
Imagine being able to feel the texture of an object with a prosthetic hand, just like you would with a natural hand. Thanks to groundbreaking research, this is becoming a reality. Scientists have developed a cutting-edge technology that integrates liquid metal tactile sensors onto the fingertips of prosthetic limbs, providing a more realistic sense of touch.
Every human fingertip has over 3,000 touch receptors that respond to pressure. The sensation in our fingertips is crucial for manipulating objects, but individuals with upper limb amputations face the challenge of lacking this vital sense. While there are several prosthetic solutions available, they all lack a crucial aspect – the sense of “touch.” This absence of sensory feedback can lead to accidental dropping or crushing of objects by the prosthetic hand.
To achieve a more natural feeling interface in prosthetic hands, researchers have developed an innovative technology by embedding tactile sensors with liquid metal onto the fingertips of the prosthesis. These sensors, housed within silicone-based elastomers, provide high conductivity, flexibility, and stretchability which are key advantages compared to traditional sensors.
Through experiments, researchers trained a machine learning algorithm to recognize textures and sliding speeds on surfaces, using individual fingertip data from the prosthetic hand. The algorithm achieved outstanding accuracy in distinguishing various textures, with a precision of 99.2%. These results indicate the potential for integrating tactile sensation across multiple fingers, significantly enhancing the intelligence of artificial hands.
This advancement in prosthetic technology can have a positive impact on the lives of individuals with upper limb amputations, providing them with greater functionality and a heightened sense of touch in everyday tasks.