Touching robot fingers.

You wouldn’t think it would be emotional, but as this CBS report illustrates, that depends on if it’s the first time you’ve held hands with your paralyzed boyfriend:

“It wasn’t my arm but it was my brain, my thoughts. I was moving something,” said Tim Hemmes, 30, who became a quadriplegic seven years ago after a motorcycle accident. “I don’t have one single word to give you what I felt at that moment. That word doesn’t exist.”

Hemmes – whose emotional moment came during a month-long experiment at the University of Pittsburgh – is among the pioneers in an ambitious quest for thought-controlled prosthetics. The ultimate goal is to give paralyzed people greater independence – the ability to feed themselves, turn a doorknob, hug a loved one.

The robotic arm is considered the most humanlike bionic arm to date – even the fingers bend like real ones. It’s controlled by electrical signals from tiny brain electrodes implanted into the brain.

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