Dark
Light

Amputees feel the heat with groundbreaking prosthetic enhancements.

1 min read
120 views

TLDR: Researchers have developed a device called “MiniTouch” that allows amputees to regain temperature sensation in their prosthetic limbs. The device uses off-the-shelf electronics and can be integrated into commercially available prosthetic limbs without the need for surgery. In a study, a 57-year-old transradial amputee was able to discriminate between objects of different temperatures and sense bodily contact with other humans using the thermally sensitive prosthetic hand. The researchers believe that restoring the sense of temperature in prosthetic limbs improves amputees’ sense of embodiment and their ability to experience affective touch. While the MiniTouch device improves temperature sensation, the researchers also believe that integrating touch and proprioception sensations will further enhance the functionality of prosthetic limbs. The device is ready for use from a technical point of view, but further safety tests are needed before it can be used in a clinical setting.

Amputees can regain temperature sensation in their prosthetic limbs with the help of a device called “MiniTouch,” according to a study published in the journal Med. 

Researchers from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna previously showed that thermal feedback technology could be integrated into prosthetic limbs, supporting active thermosensation during tasks that require collaboration between sensory and motor neurons. In this study, the researchers demonstrated that the MiniTouch device can be integrated into commercially available prosthetic limbs, enabling amputees to sense hot and cold temperatures, distinguish between different materials, and improve their ability to differentiate between human and prosthetic arms.

Existing prosthetic limbs lack sensory feedback, which is crucial for amputees to explore and interact with their environment. The MiniTouch device can restore not only temperature sensation but also improve amputees’ sense of embodiment and their ability to experience affective touch, making the prosthetic limb more human-like. The researchers believe that integrating touch, proprioception, and thermal sensations into a multimodal system will enhance the functionality of prosthetic limbs, allowing amputees to have a full range of sensory experiences in their artificial limbs. However, further safety tests are necessary before the MiniTouch device can be used clinically.

Previous Story

Sean Mooney Takes Charge at NIH Center for Information Technology.

Next Story

Nasa’s support fuels US company’s Moon launch ambition.

Latest from News