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Prosthetic Hand Allows Amputee to Sense Temperature in Major Advance


Feb 13, 2024

The head of the team of researchers from the Technical University of Lausanne, Scola Supérieure says that it is a simple idea that can be easily integrated into commercial prostheses, “temperature is one of the significant difficulties in restoring sensation to robotic hands. For the first time, we are really close to reproducing the entire range of sensations in amputees.”
The team of scientists have shown that their thermal sensing system can reproduce a passive temperature sensation in 17 out of 27 amputees tested. In the new study, they show that the technology can be easily integrated into commercial prosthetic limbs, and it enables sensation during tasks that require the activity of sensory and motor neurons, that is, even while the hand is moving. Beyond the functional importance of the ability to feel cold and heat, thermal information can also improve the ability of amputees to experience emotional touch. The team of researchers has 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 that contain cold water at a temperature of 12 degrees, cool at a temperature of 24 degrees Celsius or hot at a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius. The device also improved its ability to quickly and accurately sort metal cubes at different temperatures.The researchers are currently working on further improvement of the system after which it will begin marketing worldwide.

By Editor

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