Researchers develop artificial skin that enables prosthetic hand users to feel pain

The e-dermis can ‘feel’ lightness of touch through to pain.

Press Association
Last updated: 25 June 2018 - 11.54am

An electronic “skin” which is able to transmit pain and feeling has been developed by researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the US.

The synthetic skin-like layer fits over a prosthetic and is called an e-dermis.

[Read more: British firm creates world's first 3D-printed arms for amputees]

The e-dermis sends a signal to the user’s brain via electric nerve stimulators placed on the skin of the arm above the prosthetic.

Why would the user want to be able to feel pain? The researchers say that pain provides an essential protection mechanism for both the user and the prosthetic to keep them safe.

However, the study, released in Science Robotics, says, “it is worth noting that an ideal prosthesis would allow the user to maintain complete control and overrule pain reflexes if desired”.

The team have tested the e-dermis with an amputee, tracking brain activity using electroencephalography. This showed they were able to feel the desired sensations.

Read more: Touch-sensitive artifical skin may lead to prosthetic limbs which can feel

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