Scientist have developed the first bionic hand with a sense of touch that can be used outside a laboratory.
Almerina Mascarello, 62, lost her left hand in an accident in a steel factory in 1993.
The married mother-of-two has now been fitted with the robot hand that is not only controlled by her brain, but can also feel what it picks up.
It allow her to carry out actions that most of us take for granted but pose great difficulties for amputees – such as getting dressed.
Mrs Mascarello says the device, which has been compared to the robotic hand fitted to Luke Skywalker in Star Wars, ‘is almost like [her hand] is back again’.
In tests, Mrs Mascarello was able to tell whether an object she picked up with the device was hard or soft.
She told the BBC that the hand, developed by scientists in Rome, allows her to carry out her hobby of fixing cars.
In 2014 the same international team produced the world’s first feeling bionic hand but the device was so bulky it could not leave the laboratory.
The latest version of the device is portable – small enough to fit in a rucksack.
The development team from Italy, Switzerland and Germany included engineers, neuroscientists, surgeons and electronics and robotics specialists.
The robotic hand simulates a living hand’s ability to feel with sensors that can detect information about whether an object is soft or hard.
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