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Artificial hand offering immediate touch response a success

The bionic man is now more fact than fiction with a Danish man being able to feel shape and texture with an artificial hand attached wired to his  amputated arm

Rome: A 36-year-old man has become the world's first amputee to experience "feeling" with a sensory-enhanced artificial hand.

With wires linked to nerves in his upper arm, the Danish patient was able to handle objects and instantly receive a sense of touch through the special artificial hand that was created by Silvestro Micera and researchers both in Switzerland and Italy.

After almost a decade after losing his hand in an accident, Dennis Sorensen underwent surgery in Rome last January for the new sensory system that's part of the Life Hand 2 project.

Neurologists had first to implant four ultra-thin electrodes into the nerves of the patient's arm before the artificial sensory hand was attached.

Computer algorithms were used to change the electric signals into impulses understood by sensory nerves to produce the sense of touch.

Even blindfolded and wearing earplugs, Sorensen said "I could feel things that I hadn't been able to feel in over nine years."

The patient was able to feel not only the strength of his grasp but also the shape and texture of the items being handled.

With the success of the project, researchers are set to continue with the next phase of experiments called the HandBot project.

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