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How our sense of touch is a lot like the way we hear
Date:12/11/2012

the fabric.

But this study is just part of ongoing research for Bensmaia's team on how humans incorporate our sense of touch into more sophisticated concepts like texture, shape, and motion.

Researchers could someday use this model of timing and frequency of afferent responses to simulate the sensation of texture for an amputee by "replaying" the vibrations produced in an artificial limb as it explores a textured surface by electrically stimulating the nerve at the corresponding frequencies. It could also be used for haptic rendering, or producing the tactile feel of a virtual object on a touchscreen (think turning your iPad into a device for reading Braille, or controlling robotic surgery).

"We're trying to build a theory of what makes things feel the way they feel," Bensmaia said. "This is the beginning of a story that's really going to change the way people think about the somatosensory system."


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Contact: Matt Wood
matthew.wood@uchospitals.edu
773-702-5894
University of Chicago Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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