Groundbreaking Sensory Feedback Technology Brings Sensations Back to Amputees

Prosthetic Hand Allows Amputee to Sense Temperature in Major Advance

The Technical University of Lausanne’s Scola Supérieure team has shown that their thermal sensing system can reproduce a passive temperature sensation in 17 out of 27 amputees tested. This breakthrough technology is now easily integrated into commercial prosthetic limbs and enables sensation during tasks that require the activity of sensory and motor neurons, even while the hand is moving. Beyond its functional importance, thermal information can also improve the ability of amputees to experience emotional touch.

In a new study, the team tested the prosthesis on a 57-year-old man who underwent an amputation 37 years ago. Using the system, the participant was able to distinguish between 3 visually indistinguishable bottles containing cold water at a temperature of 12 degrees Celsius, cool at a temperature of 24 degrees Celsius or hot at a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius. Additionally, the device improved its ability to quickly and accurately sort metal cubes at different temperatures.

The researchers are currently working on further improvement of the system and plan to market it worldwide once completed. This technology has significant implications for improving the quality of life for amputees by providing them with greater sensory feedback and allowing them to perform tasks more efficiently and effectively.

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