Cyborgs Now Look To Be A Reality?

December 16, 2008

Sweden (ChattahBox) – A new robotic limb may work with the brain to relieve the phantom limb pain often associated with amputation. The Karolinska Institutet and Malmö University Hospital in Sweden has been conducting tests to eventually be able to use a new form of robotic limb technology in conjunction with psychological tricks to make the brain and body feel as though a real arm or leg are actually connected.

The initial tests have consisted of a simple optical illusion. Basically, researchers took a rubber hand, and timed certain touches to match touches being given to the amputee’s stump, which is out of sight of the subject. The trick seemed to cause a psychological reaction that made the subject feel as though their hand was being touched, and they even showed apprehension and reaction to a needle being stuck into the rubber hand.

This research, in addition to past studies done by V.S. Ramachandran that show evidence to suggest phantom limb pain is a mental issue, not a problem caused by damaged nerve endings as previously believed, has scientists hoping to uncover a new way of using prosthetics. Instead of connecting electronic wiring to the nervous system (a potentially dangerous surgical procedure), they may be able to use sensors located in the robotic limb instead.

There is no world on when this technology may be released for further studies.


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