The Use Of A Robotic “Third Thumb” Can Change How The Brain Represents The Hand

According to a new study headed by University College London researchers, using a robotic ‘ Third Thumb’ can affect how the hand is represented in the brain.

The researchers taught participants how to utilize a robotic additional thumb and discovered that they could perform dextrous tasks like building a tower of blocks with just one hand (now with two thumbs).

Participants who were taught to use the thumb felt like it was becoming a part of their body, according to the researchers, who published their findings in the journal Science Robotics.

A recent study performed by University College London researchers indicates that using a robotic ‘ Third Thumb’ can affect how the hand is represented in the brain.

The researchers taught people how to utilize a robotic additional thumb and discovered that they could perform dextrous tasks with one hand, such as building a tower of blocks (now with two thumbs).

Participants who were taught to operate the thumb began to feel like it was a part of their body, according to the researchers, who published their findings in the journal Science Robotics.

Designer Dani Clode began work on the device, dubbed the Third Thumb, as part of an award- winning graduate project at the Royal College of Art, with the goal of redefining prosthetics as extensions of the human body rather than replacements for lost functions.

” Body augmentation is a burgeoning field aiming at enhancing our physical capacities, but we lack a clear knowledge of how our brains can adapt to it, ” stated main author Professor Makin (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience).

” Our study indicates that people may quickly learn to manage an augmentation device and use it for their benefit, without overthinking, ” stated Dani Clode (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and Dani Clode Design), who was part of the main research team.

People’ s normal hand movements changed when they used the Third Thumb, and they also said the robotic thumb seemed like a part of their own body. ” ” Body augmentation could one day be helpful to society in multiple ways, such as enabling a surgeon to work without an assistance or a manufacturing worker to work more efficiently, ” said Paulina Kieliba (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience), the study’ s first author.

This line of work has the potential to alter the notion of prostheses, allowing someone who can only use one hand permanently or temporarily to accomplish everything with one hand.

” Body augmentation could one day be helpful to society in multiple ways, such as enabling a surgeon to work without an assistance or a manufacturing worker to work more efficiently, ” said Paulina Kieliba (UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience), the study’ s first author.

This line of work has the potential to alter the notion of prostheses, allowing someone who can only use one hand permanently or temporarily to accomplish everything with one hand. However, in order to get there, we must continue to investigate the complex, multidisciplinary concerns surrounding how these gadgets interact with our brains. “

The researchers used fMRI to assess the subjects’ brains before and after the training while they moved their fingers separately (they were not wearing the Thumb while in the scanner).

Each finger is represented differently in human brains; nonetheless, the brain activity pattern corresponding to each unique finger became more similar among the study participants (less distinct).

” Our study is the first to look at the use of an augmentation device outside of a lab, ” Paulina Kieliba stated.

It’ s the first augmentation study to take place over several days of intensive training, and it’ s also the first to include an untrained control group.

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