From [bibcite key=fabbro2015graphene]:
Connecting technical conductive materials - as in: wires - to nerve cells - as in: spine, brain, peripheral nerves - is important to develop prosthetic devices where interfacing surfaces should only minimally disturb the nerve cells and surrounding tissues.
Current materials are tungsten microwire electrodes or silicone based electrode arrays that represent a long-term trauma and that elicit a long-term inflammation. Typical long-term issues are the formation of an insulating tissue layer around the implanted electrodes, the so-called "glial scar". Not only is the glial scar with concomitant long term inflammation a health issue per se, also the SNR (signal-to-noise ratio) deteriorates until the electrode entirely fails.
Of course we all want perfectly controlled and durable, light weight and affordable hand replacements. The list of problems to solve is long. Getting electrodes implanted does away with the socket problem; that leaves the terminal devices that are electrical and motorized, all of which currently suck in a few major ways (too heavy, no standard gloves fit, too fragile, too sensitive, grip too weak and grip too useless, gloves far too fragile, all materials far too expensive and in total appraisal with uselessness, discomfort and effort to keep them going one has to ask, why, the effort alone takes away our humanity, why do we have to fail the #voightkampff test in our attempts to fake it?) The current technologies all have serious drawbacks, and so all you can do at the moment is making significant sacrifices one way or another.
And yet, this development comes with a peculiar sacrifice: "Neonatal rats were sacrificed by rapid decapitation and the tissue of interest (hippocampus) was harvested; all efforts were made to minimize suffering. The work was performed on explanted tissue and did not require ethical approval. The entire procedure employed in the present study is in accordance with the regulations of the Italian Animal Welfare Act, with the relevant EU legislation and guidelines on the ethical use of animals and is approved by the local Authority Veterinary Service."
Awww. That so many mice should die so one day we can wiggle some aluminum fingers! Makes my body powered hook appear in a totally different light yet again ; )