For several years now, people have been able to control robotic arms using thoughts alone. But they have relied entirely on vision to know whether the arm is going in the right direction or grasping an object with the proper amount of force. That makes it very challenging to perform simple tasks like grasping a foam coffee cup without crushing it, McLoughlin says.
“Without sensory feedback, somebody would have to actually have to look at the prosthetic, look at the cup, start to close the hand, (and) visually see the cup is starting to deform,” he says.
Restoring Copeland’s sense of touch was a painstaking process, but the Pittsburgh team knew it was possible.
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