Researchers from University of Pittsburgh successfully managed to bring back the feeling of sensation to a man severely paralyzed a decade earlier. The 28 year-old had electrodes from a brain-computer interface (BCI) implanted into the primary somatosensory cortex of his brain. The BCI was connected to a robotic arm with built-in tactile sensors. The sensors relayed their measurements back through the BCI and the man actually felt the touches as though his real hand was coming in contact.
Importantly, the feeling of touch varied depending on the amount of electrical stimulation delivered, which the researchers believe is a sign that more nuanced tactile feedback will one day be possible.“I can feel just about every finger—it’s a really weird sensation,” Nathan Copeland said about a month after surgery, according to UPMC.