Towards Prosthetic Limbs

What will arrive first: tissue engineered or regenerated replacement limbs, or prosthetic limbs that function just as fully as the original? From Wired: "Cyberhand would be attached to amputees below the elbow and covered by several layers of synthetic material that would seek to copy the features of a natural hand by making the prosthetic replacement soft, compliant, and flexible. ... Patton says it represents 'the first prosthetic hand that really is fully integrated into the nervous system.' Linked to the nerves by tiny electrodes and biomimetic sensors, it would let patients sense the position and movement of the hand as well as stimuli from the outside environment." There is still a great deal of work to do, but scientists are making impressive progress in tapping into the peripheral nervous system.



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