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Over time, the monkey learned to pick the right object from the frequency of the signal its brain received, and could essentially 'feel' the objects on screen. Nicolelis hopes that he can use the same tactic in people with prosthetics. But neither he nor Bensmaia know whether the monkeys they tested felt poking, roughness or some other sensation such as tingling.
Irrespective of which signals are used, scientists will need a more finely tuned technique to deliver them. For example, an attempt to create sensation in one finger might produce sensation in other parts of the hand as well, he says. Nurmikko and other researchers are therefore using light, in place of electricity, to activate highly specific groups of neurons and recreate a sense of touch. They first used a technique called optogenetics to express genes for light-sensitive proteins in parts of a monkey's brain that receive tactile information from the hand.
They then trained the monkey to remove its hand from a pad when the device vibrated. The use of such techniques in humans is still probably 10—20 years away, says Bensmaia, but it is a promising strategy. Even if such techniques can be made to work, it is unclear how closely they will approximate natural sensations. Tingles, pokes and vibrations are still a far cry from the complicated sensations that we feel when closing a hand over an apple, or running a finger along a table's edge.
But patients don't need a perfect sense of touch, says Douglas Weber, a bioengineer at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. Simply having enough feedback to improve their control of grasp could help people to perform tasks such as picking up a glass of water, he explains.
Patients who wear cochlear implants, for example, are often happy to regain enough hearing to hold a phone conversation, even if they are still unable to distinguish musical subtleties. One of the most sophisticated devices to include sensory feedback is a prosthetic arm developed by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena are seeking regulatory approval to use brain stimulation to deliver sensory feedback from the prosthetic limb to patients.
Spetic, for one, can hardly wait to get hold of a prosthetic hand with a sense of touch. Hochberg, L. Nature , — Chapin, J. Nature Neurosci.
Serruya, M. Dhillon, G. Hand Surg.
Horch, K. IEEE Trans. Tyler, D. Neural Syst. Kuiken, T. Natl Acad. USA , — O'Doherty, J. For the best commenting experience, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will see comments updating in real-time and have the ability to recommend comments to other users. What matters in science — and why — free in your inbox every weekday.
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A Xander and Anya duet is up next in a scene reminiscent of a Doris Day musical comedy. The couple sing and dance in their silk pyjamas, revealing the little things about each other that really get on their nerves. Again, the choreography is as good as anything you'd see on a West End stage. Later in the day, the couple join Giles to discuss events. As they walk through the streets, cleaners dance in the background and Marti Noxon cameos as a woman trying to sing her way out of getting a parking ticket.
“Buffy” Musical Episode Coming to Vinyl
She's a really gifted vocalist too. By the time night falls, Buffy has caught up with Spike to discover what he knows. All the vampire can do is open his heart through song, however. James Marsters turns Billy Idol, hijacking a night-time funeral and dancing on a coffin as Buffy tries to keep him under control. This may be a highly irregular episode, but that doesn't mean that the overall season arc has been forgotten.
A stray remark by the increasingly kleptomaniac Dawn leads Tara to discover that Willow has been altering her memories of the row they had. As the shy Wicca leaves the Summers' house to find her girlfriend, Dawn is kidnapped by creatures resembling giant ventriloquist's dummies and brought before Sweet, the demon causing all the commotion. The young actress performs a stylish dance routing with Sweet's henchmen before the demon goes all Jim Carey in The Mask with his chameleon-like zoot suit and snappy leg work. Meanwhile, Buffy has returned to the Magic Box to train with Giles. In the excitingly-staged Standing In The Way, the Watcher admits that he feels he's holding his Slayer back - worried that she has become too dependent upon him.
The effects in the scene are subtle but stylish, with Buffy slow-motion training mixed into Giles at normal speed. Tara has arrived at the Magic Box, closely followed by Spike and a captured henchman. The gang discover Dawn has been captures "Dawn's in trouble? Must be Tuesday," notes Buffy wryly! Buffy heads to the Bronze to rescue her sister and encounters Sweet. Joss Whedon's love of 70s prog rock shines through in Life's A Show. Bizarre time signatures and stunning dance moves from Gellar make this something special.
Comic-Con Buffy Musical Episode: "Once More with F
As does the revelation to her friends that Buffy was plucked from Heaven rather than Hell at the start of the season. When Giles calls for backup, Willow and Tara don't fight - they just sing and dance behind Buffy. Spike has had enough at this point and storms out - chased by Buffy. The couple kiss passionately - and this time, Spike isn't dreaming.
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