Ten years ago, Nathan Copeland was in an accident that left him paralyzed.
Now, thanks to a team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, Copeland can use his mind to control a robotic arm and even feel pressure applied to an artificial hand.
The achievement is a technological first and breakthrough for the future of prosthetics.
The goal was to create a brain computer interface BCI that could sense in both directions — from the brain to the hand and the hand back to the brain.
This constant feedback is important for natural grasping, as we are always interacting with objects of different weights, sizes, and sensitivities — you would not hold a pencil like a piece of paper.
To create the feedback, researchers implanted electrodes into Copeland s sensory cortex, at regions that are known to normally correlate with signals to and from the hand.