Now one research group is reporting a major step toward a touchy-feely prosthetic. A team of researchers from the University of Chicago and Johns Hopkins University performed a series of experiments that showed they could send electrical signals directly to the brains of rhesus macaques and that the macaques were able to interpret the signals as touches on different parts of their hands. Another series of experiments showed rhesus macaques could interpret different direct-to-brain signals as touches of varying pressure. A third explored whether direct-to-brain signals work quickly enough to be able to accurately tell macaques when a prosthetic is touching something and when it stops the touch.
Astrophotographer John Chumack was killing time while waiting for Comet ISON (a potentially spectacular comet making its closest approach to the sun in November and December) to rise when he captured this beautiful image of the Orion Nebula, M42 (NGC 1976) along with neighbor, De Mairan's Nebula M43.