Restoring the sense of touch

Even before he lost his right hand to an industrial accident four years ago, Igor Spetic had family open his medicine bottles. Cotton balls give him goose bumps. Now, blindfolded during an experiment, he feels his arm hairs raise when a researcher brushes the back of his prosthetic hand with a cotton ball. Spetic, of course, can’t feel the ball. But patterns of electric signals are sent by a computer into nerves in his arm and to his brain, which tells him differently. That’s one of several types of sensation Spetic, of Madison, Ohio, can feel with the prosthetic system being developed by Case Western Reserve University and the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Spetic was excited just to “feel” again, and quickly received an unexpected benefit. The phantom pain he’d suffered, which he’s described as a vise crushing his closed fist, subsided almost completely.

Provided by Case Western Reserve University

Runtime: 3:16

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