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A team of scientists at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland have developed a bionic fingertip which allows amputees to feel different texture.

The finger contains electromechanical sensors which change shape when touched and transmit signals to the nerves of the upper arm, which are connected to the sensors through surgical insertion. The pattern of signals closely mimics the rhythm you would feel when touching different textures; for example, a rough texture would let you feel gaps between the signals, emulating the gaps between raised textures. A smooth texture would transmit a more consistent signal. Psychology and Biological Sciences applicants should consider the translation between sensory information and neurological signals when inorganic matter is introduced.

Engineers should consider the ingenuity behind the design that translated texture into mechanical signals. The finger was so effective that the first person it was tested on, Dennis Sørensen, was able to distinguish between surfaces 96% of the time. In 2014, a different study gave amputees a sense of touch and pressure which allowed them to pull the stalks off cherries squashing the fruit itself.

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