The first prosthetic on record dates back 3,000 years to an Egyptian noblewoman, who wore a leather and wood prosthetic in place of her right big toe. While that's a pretty remarkable example of ingenuity for the time, prosthetics have come quite a long way since then. In fact, a 20-year-old man who lives in Rome is scheduled to receive the first ever bionic hand with a working sense of touch later this year.
The hand will be wired to the patient's nervous system, so that he'll be able to control it in much the same way that he would control a real hand. And If everything goes smoothly, he should also be able to "feel" signals from the hand's touch sensors.
Dr. Silvestro Micera from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland will be performing the transplant:
This is real progress, real hope for amputees. It will be the first prosthetic that will provide real-time sensory feedback for grasping. It is clear that the more sensory feeling an amputee has, the more likely you will get full acceptance of that limb. We could be on the cusp of providing new and more effective clinical solutions to amputees in the next year.
This exciting advancement could help out so many individuals with artificial limbs, and we can't wait for an update once the transplant takes place.