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Recent news from The Johns Hopkins University

This section contains regularly updated highlights of the news from around The Johns Hopkins University. Links to the complete news reports from the nine schools, the Applied Physics Laboratory and other centers and institutes are to the left, as are links to help news media contact the Johns Hopkins communications offices.

 

Johns Hopkins Neuroscientist’s Goal: a Prosthetic Limb With Feeling

Back in 1980 when The Empire Strikes Back hit the big screen, it seemed like the most fantastic of science fiction scenarios: Luke Skywalker getting a fully functional bionic arm to replace the one he had lost to arch enemy Darth Vader. Thirty years later, such a device is more the stuff of fact and less of fiction, as increasingly sophisticated artificial limbs are being developed that allow users a startlingly life-like range of motion and fine motor control. Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Steven Hsiao, however, isn’t satisfied that a prosthetic limb simply allows its user to move. He wants to provide the user the ability to feel what the artificial limb is touching, such as the texture and shape of a quarter, or the comforting perception of holding hands. Accomplishing these goals requires understanding how the brain processes the multitude of sensations that come in daily through our fingers and hands.