back to article Boffins give amputee the finger – a bionic touch-sensitive fingertip

Technology has made great strides in building biomechanical systems for amputees, but using tech to replace touch has proven problematic. Now a joint project by the École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (SSSA) has developed a bionic fingertip that's capable of sensing the rough and …

  1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    "The team also tested the device out on non-amputees for correlation. Surprisingly, the intact testers had a lower success rate in detecting texture, reporting a 77 per cent success rate."

    Not really surprising, IMO. In the non-amputees the data from the sensor is additional data as the native sensors are still active. They are active and transmitting all the time, you're just usually not aware of it because your brain/mind filters the data.

    The scientists saw brain activity in exactly the spot where you'd expect for handling touch sensations.

    Brains are amazing, aren't they? AI has a long way to go yet.

    A very good description about what goes on in your mind when you touch and feel things can be found in a book about motorcycling by Dr. Berndt Spiegel, "The Upper Half of the Mororbike".

    1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Upper Half of the Motorcycle: On the Unity of Rider and Machine. Whitehorse Gear, 2010, ISBN 978-1-884313-75-2. (englisch)

  2. Elmer Phud

    At last

    At last the poor chap can again pick his nose and get the full sensual experience!

  3. A K Stiles Silver badge

    Just wondering

    I was just pondering the other day about some tech I remember seeing on the tellybox some 25? years ago.

    They were discussing a prosthetic arm which used microphones embedded in the fingers to determine if something they were holding was slipping and tighten the grip slightly - sort of a reverse ABS system but using acoustics.

    Now we're talking about wiring sensors back into the nervous system. Incredible really!

  4. Kevin Johnston Silver badge


    Can we combine this with the story about defeating biometrics with injet fingerprints and give the hand any fingerprints you fancy? How many police officers would think to take fingerprints of a prosthetic?

    1. Graham Marsden

      @Keving Johnston - Re: So...

      I was just thinking something very similar: Could this system be reversed to provide a modifiable fingerprint?

      It would make a great James Bond gizmo...

  5. Kaltern

    Gotta hand it to them, they know how to take the rough with the smooth.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can we get an endorsement from his wife or girlfriend?

    Anonymously getting my coat...

    1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Re: Can we get an endorsement from his wife or girlfriend?

      With jokes like that I doubt it.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020