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Man controls robotic hand by thought

Photo: Shadow Robot Company (not related to article)

Photo: Shadow Robot Company (not related to article)

The Bio-Medical Campus University of Rome announced wednesday that they “successfully connected a robotic hand to a man, Petruzziello, who had lost an arm in a car accident, allowing him to control the prosthetic with his thoughts and feel sensations in the artificial limb. The experiment lasted a month. But scientists say it marks the first time an amputee has been able to make complex movements using his mind to control a biomechanic hand connected to his nervous system.” ( AP )

The €2 million project, funded by the EU, took five years to complete. The Italian test subject Petruzziello had hair thin wires connected to his nervous system for a month, and underwent a good deal of tests. “It felt almost the same as a real hand. They stimulated me a lot, even with needles … you can’t imagine what they did to me,” he says.

Italians are known for their vivid body language, and in such matter Petruzziello makes for a good test subject. During the month he learned to wiggle the fingers independently, make a fist and grab objects. Also, a neurologist says that some of the hand movements Petruzziello learned to use could not be disclosed as “they were quite vulgar”.

Read more at Associated Press.

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