Electronic skin that can feel pain


With advancements in science and technology, the development of prosthetics has also become more diverse. Many research teams are working hard to bring “tactility” to prostheses, but the research team of the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) is working in another direction. Maybe some people may feel a bit bizarre, but they are trying to make the prosthesis feel pain.

At first glance, the pain of restoring physical body to the prosthetic limb appears to be a little more than one, but in fact, pain is a very important warning function for the human body. For example, infants suffering from congenital celiac disease (CIP) may be It’s fun to bite your fingers, scratch the eyeballs, or deep in the boiling water.

Pain is like a reminder that people should pay attention to the condition of the body in order to avoid more serious situations and the conditions on the prostheses should also be the same. Bioengineer Levi Hargrove points out that people often infringe on their prosthetics because they use the prosthetic as a tool. “But the prosthetics should not be designed to be used as such.”

In order to make the prosthetic limbs feel more like a part of the body, the research writer Luke Osborn and the team collaborated to create an electronic skin “e-dermis” because e-dermis is a pressure-sensitive film rubber and fabric. The composition, when used in the fingertips of the prosthetic palm, can “feel” the difference between a circular object and a sharp object and convert the message into a series of electronic pulses.

The team recruited a 29-year-old volunteer for device testing. He lost his arms after a blood infection 5 years ago. The team first used stimulation to find out which parts of the electronic pulse felt like the pressure on the thumb and forefinger, and then changed the pulse slightly to change the feeling from stress to minor pain. Then the volunteers could successfully distinguish between the tests. Take out the round and sharp objects.

Volunteers told Osborn that the skin allows him to distinguish between painful feelings without thinking, intuitively knowing whether the prosthesis is at risk. “After so many years I can finally feel my hand, like an empty shell once again full of life.”

Osborn and the team are also adding another feature that allows the prosthetic to release the finger and drop the item when it grabs something too sharp – the prosthetic will automatically respond within 100 milliseconds, just like the speed of the average person’s reflexes same. In the ideal situation of the future, the team wants users to overshadow the reflection of the prostheses in some way. After all, the meaning of the existence of the body is still that we can decide how to act.

Paul Marasco, a biomedical engineer at the Cleveland Clinic, points out that touch is a very complex thing, including texture, temperature, pleasure and pain are all tactile, “Osborn’s research will certainly be very rich in the sense of prosthetics helpful.”

source: www.theatlantic.com

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