“We’re talking about a dramatic improvement in patient care,” said Hugh Herr, a professor of media arts and sciences and senior author on the study, in a press release. “Right now there’s no robust neural method for a person with limb amputation to feel proprioceptive positions and forces applied to the prosthesis. Imagine how that would completely hinder one’s ability to move, to successfully balance, or to manipulate objects.”
The researchers worked with rats, successfully generating muscle-tendon sensory feedback to the nervous system. The feedback helps relay information about the placement of prosthetic limbs and the forces applied to it. Now they hope to use that same method in humans.