Sensing touch through tools is not a new concept, though it has not been extensively investigated. There is evidence that when the sensory brain regions are presented with the same stimulus repeatedly, the responses of the underlying neural population get suppressed. This repetition suppression can be measured and used as a time stamp to signify when a stimulus is extracted in the brain.
Recent results indicate the neural mechanisms for detecting touch location on tools are remarkably like what happens to localize touch on your own body. People could locate touches on a tool quickly and efficiently using the same neural processes for detecting touch on the body. Insensate objects can become, potentially, ways of detecting information from the world and relaying it toward the somatosensory systems.