Anatomy in the news
In September of 2018, an article was published about a new innovation in medicine in which prosthetics could be controlled by the human mind. As far back as 2006, new experimental techniques were introduced to amputees, the most fascinating being a cutting-edge invention labeled “targeted nerve reinnervation”. The procedure involves surgically rewiring remaining nerves from the limb into a close muscle. This permits electric signals to be sent from the amputee’s brain to the prosthetic limb, allowing the person to move the limb with their thoughts, just as a regular appendage would.
While this is a captivating discovery, it unfortunately did not meet all of the needs of the amputees. This invention, although groundbreaking, could still not imitate the feeling of a natural appendage, failing to create a sense of kinesthesia—the knowledge and feeling of where body parts are and how they are functioning. This is a very significant desire for patients, as the functions of unfeeling extremities can sometimes cause confusion. For example, the person could watch their hand pick something up, but no feelings would register in the prosthetic. With this in mind, many doctors worked diligently to find a cure for this sense of disillusionment. This second innovation was named the kinesthetic illusion. This innovation uses vibrations to signal to your brain, simulating the feeling of a human limb. After thorough testing and many trials and errors, this experiment had proven to be successful in its intent. Kinesthetic illusion, as baffling as it is useful, will make a significant impact on amputees for years to come.
“Vibrations Restore Sense of Movement in Prosthetics.” The Scientist Magazine®, www.the scientist.com/notebook/vibrations-restore-sense-of-movement-in-prosthetics-64691.