A monkey has been outfitted with an artificial limb which it can use to literally 'feel' objects.
Researchers at the University of Chicago were able to simulate touch sensation's in the simian's brain, using electrical impulses.
In the study, the monkey was shown to focus its gaze in different places depending on which of their false fingers was being touched, according to New Scientist.
The experiment relied on placing microelectrodes inside the brain, and using them to deliver impulses to make nuerons fire in sequence. The result (from the monkey's perspective) was a sensation that appears to be equivalent to touch.
"Information about location and pressure of a touch is often unavailable visually or is inadequate to guide motor behaviour for people with prosthetics," said study author Sliman Bensmaia.
"But it is crucial. Without it we crush or drop objects in our grasp."
It is hoped the research - although it currently requires horrendously invasive surgical proceedures - might one day form the basis of new technology which could restore a sense of touch to humans.
Meet Jules, the newest and most realistic humanoid robot yet from David Hanson and the team at Hanson Robotics.
A robot that looks just like its creator (www.newscientist.com).
Engineers at Kagawa University in Japan are developing a talking robotic version of the human mouth: To enable the robot's speaking abilities, engineers at Japan's Kagawa University used an air pump, artificial vocal chords, a resonance tube, a nasal cavity, and a microphone attached to a sound analyzer as substitutes for human vocal organs.
ACTROID-F in AIST Open Lab 2010.
Robot modeled after Albert Einstein. Einstein mimics the facial expressions he detects in others. Smile at him, and he'll smile back.
Cybernetic human dance demo in DCEXPO, 2010.
Humanoid face created by Hanson Robotics (www.hansonrobotics.com). Robotics scientists at Hanson previously created animatronic puppets for Disney studios.
Animatronic baby mechanism for anonymous TV series. Built by Chris Clarke for CNFX Workshop.
Taiwanese Kissing Robots (NTUST Robot) were exhibited in AutoRob2009 in Gwangju, Korea. They were developed by Prof. Chyi-Yeu Lin's research team in National Taiwan University of Science and Technology.
Robot girl with silicone skin.