Researchers at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) report that an innovative prosthetic hand that is connected directly with the brain has enabled a paralysed man to successfully feel again.

The 28-year-old male, who suffered a spinal cord injury and has been paralysed for more than a decade, was able to control a robotic hand with his brain and reported being able to sense physical sensations.

DARPA researchers attached electrodes to the man’s sensory cortex — the area of the brain responsible for identifying tactile sensations, such as pressure. Electrodes were also placed on the patient’s motor cortex, the part of the brain that directs body movements.

The success of this procedure involving multiple innovations undoubtedly provides new hope to those with spinal injuries and may also pave the way for life changing prosthetic solutions for amputees.