The Sensation of Feeling

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Feelings… They are the one thing that distinguish humans from the artificial intelligence and machines that we encounter on a day-to-day basis.

A group of Stanford researchers is seeking to bridge this gap with a new type of pressure sensor that is flat and flexible. The hope is that this will be able to be stretched over prosthetics like an artificial skin allowing the user to truly feel the objects that they are touching. They are able to do this by “directly mimicking the biological system” according to lead researcher Zhenan Bao. Though not yet started on human trials, the team is eager to establish results stating that it can tell the difference between a firm and a limp handshake.

It is not quite the same as a reproduction of natural touch, since that would require  bidirectional communication between the brain and the prosthetic. Instead they  are starting out conveying useful touch sensation, which the user can be taught to interpret.

To learn more about feeling through prosthetics, click here –

http://www.technologyreview.com/news/542421/artificial-skinartificial-skin-provides-a-step-toward-bionic-hands/

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