Biohybrid robotic hand explores sensory encoding and motor integration algorithms

A groundbreaking biohybrid neuro-prosthetic research platform has been developed by researchers, featuring an artificial hand interfaced with biological neural networks. This innovative technology holds significant promise for individuals with spinal cord injuries or amputations, allowing them to control machines through their thoughts using brain-machine interfaces.

Although still in the experimental stage, this technology has the potential to help individuals regain control and sensation of their limbs by translating electrophysiological signals between the brain and external devices. The challenge lies in restoring motor control and natural sensation through prosthetic hands, due to the complexity of conveying various tactile sensations such as object friction, temperature, and pain.

Researchers from Florida Atlantic University have collaborated to create a biohybrid neuro-prosthetic hand model, demonstrating the sensitivity of this innovative technology to different neural stimulation methods. By integrating robotic tactile sensations with motor control, this research platform offers a safe way to study neural interfaces and enhance the understanding of touch sensation necessary for refined hand control.

The study published in the journal Biomimetics explores the behavior of the biohybrid neuro-prosthetic hand model and its response to neural stimulation encoding methods. Findings show that the biological neural networks can specialize in different tactile encoding patterns, leading to unique robotic behavior based on the method used.

By utilizing a biohybrid model to study cortical neurons’ perception of robotic touch sensations, researchers aim to improve control algorithms for artificial hands and enhance sensory encoding and motor decoding techniques. This innovative approach not only reduces risks for human subjects but also contributes to the advancement of neuro-prosthetic research, ultimately benefitting individuals with disabilities worldwide.

– Florida Atlantic University. “Biohybrid robotic hand may help unravel complex sensation of touch” Tech Xplore, Accessed 15 May 2024.


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