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When you go to catch a Frisbee, you don’t need to stare at your hand until it makes contact. You have an intuitive sense of where your arm is—and where it’s going—based on how your muscles and joints feel. This sense of body position, known as kinesthesia, has proved tricky to build into prosthetic arms. Now, researchers have recreated the feeling of kinesthesia in six arm amputees by sending finely tuned vibrations into the skin of their upper arms and shoulders. The approach improved their ability to feel and control their prosthetic arms when performing actions such as gripping and pinching, the team reports today in Science Translational Medicine.
The amputees in the study had previously undergone surgery to rewire the nerves in their upper bodies to act as messengers for the specific electric signals associated with...
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