Technology that enables amputees to ‘sense’ moisture through prostheses has been developed by a team of researchers at the University of Southampton and EPFL, two Swiss federal institutes of technology. is one of

Testing the wetness sensor on the prosthetic hand. Testing the wetness sensor on the prosthetic hand.

Testing the wetness sensor on the prosthetic hand. Image credit: University of Southampton

Scientists have developed a sensor that fits a artificial The hand is connected to a stimulator that touches the wearer’s residual limb, so they can feel the sensation of moisture through their skin.

The invention – a world first – could improve the dexterity of prosthetic hands and enhance the sensory experience and acceptance of prostheses for their users.

Dr. David FilengryAssociate Professor and Director in Thermal Physiology Thermo Sense Lab At the University of Southampton, the wet-sensing aspect of the work is behind it. He said: “A lot of work in this area has focused on techniques that help restore motor control, but motor control without sensation is very difficult. Over the past 10 years, the field of work has expanded into this sensory field. Tried to restore the impression.”

EPFL researchers, led by Dr. Suleiman Shukor and including Maria Plumitsakau and Jonathan Mauheim, developed a sensor that detects temperature through an artificial object, at the INAIL Center (National Institute for Accidents at Work). Insurance) is working closely with Prof. Emanuel Grouponi, Clinical Partner. Italy. Now, Dr. Filengry has worked with them to make the prosthesis detect humidity and moisture levels.

“Through previous work we’ve done at ThermoSenseLab, we know that the way we perceive humidity is very closely related to how we perceive temperature; we have a specific set of thermal cues. is what senses wetness,” explained Dr. Filengry.

This development could have significant physical and psychological benefits for prosthetic wearers.

“We think this is likely to have implications for manual dexterity in prosthetic amputees,” said Dr Flingeri. “For example, the level of humidity affects how tightly you grip something – if the glass is wet it can slip.

“It also increases the range of natural sensations that amputees can experience and it increases the embodiment and acceptance of the prosthesis – amputees can feel more like the prosthesis belongs to their body.”

Doctoral Assistant Maria Plumetsko, first author of the study, added: “Understanding human wetness perception with the aim of restoring it in synthetic drug users has been an interesting challenge. is a step toward how amputees interact with and perceive the world.

The research team is now trying to test the implications of their work on whether the sensation of heat and humidity increases the sense of body ownership for prosthetic wearers.

Dr Flingeri added: “We’ve been working on wettability sensing for the last decade, and it’s amazing to see our basic research being used and translated to clinical implications.”

Here is the research. Published online.

Source: Southampton University