It turns out that the body image changes in the brain when using “robotic fingers” –GIGAZINE

It turns out that the body image changes in the brain when using "robotic fingers" --GIGAZINE



Man can use tools like his body, and feel the feeling of tools in his hands.Feel with very high accuracyIt has also been reported. From a new study that trains subjects to operate independently of the artificially created “third thumb”, “the body image changes in the brain when the robot’s fingers malfunction.” It turned out.

Robotic arm augmentation changes the representation of the nervous body. Science robotics
https://robotics.sciencemag.org/content/6/54/eabd7935

The use of robotic ‘third thumb’ can change the representation of the brain of the hand. UCL News – UCL – University College London
https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2021/may/robotic-third-thumb-use-can-alter-brain-representation-hand

Know here what came to the mind of people after getting the robotic ‘third thumb’
https://www.sciencealert.com/attaching-a-third-thumb-rejigs-the-brain-s-representation-of-our-hands

Developed by designer Danielle Clode, the “third thumb” is normally intended to be worn by people with the same five fingers, as opposed to prostheses that make up for missing limbs.University College London (UCL)So, Professor Tamar Makin’s research team, which was studying how the brain adapts to devices that expand the body, invited Mr. Clode to collaborate as this third thumb is suitable for research. I made it.

You can see what kind of tool the third thumb is by watching the following movie.

“Third Thumb” is being used to touch other fingers – YouTube

The third thumb is made by the 3D printer and is worn where it is combined with the original thumb.


The third thumb is connected wirelessly to the pressure sensor connected to the big toe, and training will enable smooth operation.

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The research team trained 20 subjects to use the third thumb independently for five days. In addition, subjects were encouraged to take their third thumb home every day and use it in their daily lives, and it appears that they wore the third thumb for about 2 to 6 hours per day on average. On the other hand, 10 subjects underwent a third thumb that did not move as a control group.

What happened to the subject wearing the third thumb in this experiment is explained in the following film.

For the mind, a tool is just a tool, not an extension of the hand – YouTube

If you make full use of your third thumb, you can hold a large number of oranges with one hand…


It is possible to open the cap by holding the PET bottle with one hand.


Also, hold the two jenga with one hand and stack them …


After five days of training, subjects were able to use their third thumb to a great extent.


In addition, the subject was also able to use the third thumb in situations such as blindfolding or solving a math problem. From this, Clod said, “Our research shows that people can learn to operate extension devices and use them for themselves. People report when using their third thumb that they naturally use their hands And the robot’s thumb felt as if it were part of its body. “


The research team wanted to investigate in this experiment, “How do the devices that expand the body affect the body image in the brain?” So the research team before and after the experimentMagnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)We performed a scan to find out how the image of the third thumb hand in the sensorimotor cortex of the brain is. It is also being said that the third thumb was removed for safety at the time of scanning.

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The part of the sensorimotor cortex that is activated by moving the fingers of the hand varies depending on the finger.


However, in the subject trained with the third thumb, it was found that the active part was slightly closer when the five fingers were rotated, and the area of ​​each finger began to blur. In addition, when the fMRI scan was performed again one week after the third thumb training, the area of ​​the sensorimotor cortex that had been activated according to the motion of the fingers, so the change was first. This can be temporary during training with only 3 thumbs.


Professor Makin said, “Evolution does not prepare us to use additional body parts. To expand our abilities in new and unexpected ways, our brains are biological bodies. I found myself optimizing my representation is required.”

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Seth Grace

About the author: Seth Grace

Seth is an all-around geek who loves learning new stuff every day. With a background in Journalism and a passion for web-based technologies and Gadgets, she focuses on writing about on Hot Topics, Web Trends, Smartphones, and Tablets.

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