Gel-based fingertips could give prosthetic hands a sense of touch

Researchers at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles have found that adding gelled fingertips to a prosthetic hand can enable the wearer to instinctively react to the weight and fragility of an object he is touching — a quality most limbs lack as they completely cut off a real sense of feel. This is thanks to the way the gel-tips vibrate against an object. These subtle hints offer enough tactile feedback that help an artificial hand act as a bridge between user and object, not a barrier.

Building a prosthetic limb that's shaped like the human appendage it's supposed to mimic is only the start of restoring functionality to an individual. An artificial hand that can grip is one thing, but a prosthetic one that ? That's giving them back a piece of themselves.

New Scientist Tech, via Gizmo Watch