A revolutionary bionic hand with a sense of touch has been tested on a patient for the first time, raising the prospect of artificial "feeling" limbs.

Dennis Sorensen, from Denmark, was able to feel the shape and texture of objects using the robotic left hand connected by ultra-fine electrodes to nerves in his upper left arm.

"The sensory feedback was incredible," said the 36-year-old, who spent a month trying out the hand.

"I could feel things that I hadn't been able to feel in over nine years.

"When I held an object, I could feel if it was soft or hard, round or square."

Mr Sorensen was taking part in a trial in Rome conducted by the Swiss and Italian scientists who developed the experimental prosthetic hand.

The artificial hand detects information about touch using electrical signals from artificial tendons controlling finger movement.