Because of a lack of touch, upper-limb prosthetic users must look at their prosthetic hands the whole time they use them. Unfortunately, the prosthetics research community has put most of its efforts into making arms with wider ranges of motion and more powerful motors, not tactile feedback. But there may be a good reason for that. Touch, researchers agree, is our most complicated sense. It involves the perception of three-dimensional shapes and sizes, textures, vibrations, temperature, and pressure. Today, a small number of researchers pursue the incorporation of touch into prosthetics, with eager patients spurring them on. Watch this video overview of BioTac: a bone-like electronic core dotted with electrodes and surrounded by an electrically conductive liquid, all encased in an inexpensive, elastic silicone skin, created by SynTouch.

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