Until now, artificial limbs have been able to pick up brain signals destined for the absent hand and translate them into movements, but they could not give sensory feedback.
The new hand, which is attached directly to the nervous system via electrodes clipped on to two of the armâ€™s main nerves, aims to restore a sense of touch in amputees.
The electrodes will allow the recipient to control the hand using just their thoughts â€“ and will also send signals back to the brain. Scientists hope the breakthrough will pave the wayÂ for a new generation of artificial limbs that more closely imitate real body parts by providing feeling and increased dexterity.
Studies have shown that up to half of hand amputees do not use their artificial limb because they are not comfortable with how it appears or functions.
Dr Silvestro Micera, of the Swiss-based Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, who helped develop the limbâ€™s interface, said: â€˜This is real hope for amputees. It will be the first prosthetic that will provide real-time sensory feedback for grasping.
â€˜It is clear that the more sensory feeling an amputee has, the more likely they will get full acceptance of that limb. We hope that one day it will be embedded in the arm and the user will just forget it is there.â€™