PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION

Temperature-sensitive prosthetic limb improves amputee dexterity and feelings of human connection

Temperature-sensitive prosthetic limb improves amputee dexterity and feelings of human connection
2024-02-09
(Press-News.org) Sensory feedback is important for amputees to be able to explore and interact with their environment. Now, researchers have developed a device that allows amputees to sense and respond to temperature by delivering thermal information from the prosthesis’ fingertip to the amputee’s residual limb. The “MiniTouch” device, presented February 9 in the journal Med, uses off-the-shelf electronics, can be integrated into commercially available prosthetic limbs, and does not require surgery. Using the thermally sensitive prosthetic hand, a 57-year-old transradial amputee was able to discriminate between and manually sort objects of different temperatures and sense bodily contact with other humans.

“This is a very simple idea that can be easily integrated into commercial prostheses,” says senior author Silvestro Micera (@_smicera) of École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna. “Temperature is one of the last frontiers to restoring sensation to robotic hands. For the first time, we’re really close to restoring the full palette of sensations to amputees.”

The team previously showed that their thermosensitive technology could restore passive thermosensation in 17/27 amputees. In the new study, they show that the MiniTouch can be easily integrated into commercial prosthetic limbs and that it enables active thermosensation during tasks that require feedback between sensory and motor neurons.

Beyond the functional importance of being able to sense hot and cold, thermal information could also improve amputees’ sense of embodiment and their ability to experience affective touch. “Adding temperature information makes the touch more human-like,” says senior author Solaiman Shokur (@SolaimanShokur) of École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. “We think having the ability to sense temperature will improve amputees’ embodiment—the feeling that ‘this hand is mine.’”

To do this, they integrated the MiniTouch into the personal prosthesis of a 57-year-old male who had undergone a transradial amputation 37 years earlier by linking the device to a point on the participant’s residual limb that elicited thermal sensations in his phantom index finger. Then, they tested his ability to distinguish between objects of different temperatures and objects made of different materials.

Using the MiniTouch, the participant was able to discriminate between three visually indistinguishable bottles containing either cold (12°C), cool (24°C), or hot (40°C) water with 100% accuracy, whereas without the device, his accuracy was only 33%. The MiniTouch device also improved his ability to quickly and accurately sort metal cubes of different temperatures.

“When you reach a certain level of dexterity with robotic hands, you really need to have sensory feedback to be able to use the robotic hand to its full potential,” says Shokur.

Finally, the MiniTouch device improved the participant’s ability to differentiate between human and prosthetic arms while blindfolded—from 60% accuracy without the device to 80% with the device. However, his ability to sense human touch via his prosthesis was still limited compared to his uninjured arm, and the researchers speculate that this was due to limitations in other non-thermal sensory inputs such as skin softness and texture. Other technologies are available to enable these other sensory inputs, and the next step is to begin integrating those technologies into a single prosthetic limb.

“Our goal now is to develop a multimodal system that integrates touch, proprioception, and temperature sensations,” says Shokur. “With that type of system, people will be able to tell you ‘this is soft and hot,’ or ‘this is hard and cold.’”

The researchers say that their technology is ready for use from a technical point of view, but more safety tests are needed before it reaches the clinic, and they have plans to further improve the device so that it can be more easily fitted. Future models could also build upon the Minitouch to integrate thermal information from multiple points on an amputee’s phantom limb—for example, allowing people to differentiate thermal and tactile sensations on their finger and thumb might help them grasp a hot beverage, while enabling sensation in the back of the hand might improve the feeling of human connection by allowing amputees to sense when another person touches their hand.

###

This research was supported by the Bertarelli Foundation, the Swiss National Science Foundation, the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, the Horizon Europe Research & Innovation Programme, and the Ministry of University and Research.

Med, Muheim and Iberite et al., “A sensory-motor hand prosthesis with integrated thermal feedback” https://www.cell.com/med/fulltext/S2666-6340(23)00404-X 

Med (@MedCellPress), Cell Press' flagship medical journal, publishes transformative, evidence-based science across the clinical and translational research continuum—from large-scale clinical trials to translational studies with demonstrable functional impact, offering novel insights in disease understanding. Visit https://www.cell.com/med. To receive Cell Press media alerts, please contact press@cell.com.

END


[Attachments] See images for this press release:
Temperature-sensitive prosthetic limb improves amputee dexterity and feelings of human connection Temperature-sensitive prosthetic limb improves amputee dexterity and feelings of human connection 2

ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

Towards a natural prosthetic hand: A study published in Med has developed a temperature-sensitive prosthetic limb that improves amputee interactions and feelings of human connection

Towards a natural prosthetic hand: A study published in Med has developed a temperature-sensitive prosthetic limb that improves amputee interactions and feelings of human connection
2024-02-09
Pisa, 9 February 2024. “When one of the researchers placed the sensor on his own body, I could feel the warmth of another person with my phantom hand. it was a very strong emotion for me, it was like reactivating a connection with someone”.   Thanks to a sensorised prosthetic hand that provides realistic and real-time thermal feedback, Fabrizio, a 57-year-old man from Pistoia with a transradial (wrist) amputation, was able to discriminate between and manually sort objects of different temperatures or materials and ...

Making AI a partner in neuroscientific discovery

2024-02-09
The past year has seen major advances in Large Language Models (LLMs) such as ChatGPT. The ability of these models to interpret and produce human text sources (and other sequence data) has implications for people in many areas of human activity. A new perspective paper in the journal Neuron argues that like many professionals, neuroscientists can either benefit from partnering with these powerful tools or risk being left behind.   In their previous studies, the authors showed that important preconditions are met to develop LLMs that can interpret and analyze neuroscientific data like ChatGPT interprets language. These AI models can be built for many different types ...

Changes in outpatient health care use after COVID-19 infection among veterans

2024-02-09
About The Study: This study including 202,000 veterans with COVID-19 and 202,000 matched uninfected veterans found that outpatient use increased significantly in the month after infection, then attenuated but remained greater than the uninfected cohorts’ use through 12 months, which suggests that there are sustained impacts of COVID-19 infection. Authors: Matthew L. Maciejewski, Ph.D., of the Durham Veterans Affairs Health Care System in Durham, North Carolina, is the corresponding author.  To access the embargoed study: Visit our For The Media ...

Long-term brain structure and cognition following bariatric surgery

2024-02-09
About The Study: The findings of this study including 133 adults with severe obesity suggest that bariatric surgery was associated with health benefits two years after surgery. Bariatric surgery was associated with improved cognition and general health and changed blood vessel efficiency and cortical thickness of the temporal cortex. These results may improve treatment options for patients with obesity and dementia. Authors: Amanda J. Kiliaan, Ph.D., of the Radboud University Medical Center, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, ...

Pioneering technique reveals new layer of human gene regulation

2024-02-09
A technique can determine for the first time how frequently, and exactly where, a molecular event called “backtracking” occurs throughout the genetic material (genome) of any species, a new study shows. Published online February 9 in Molecular Cell, the study results support the theory that backtracking represents a widespread form of gene regulation, which influences thousands of human genes, including many involved in basic life processes like cell division and development in the womb. Led by researchers from NYU Grossman School of Medicine, the work revolves around genes, the stretches ...

Reducing diabetes medication costs can help improve outcomes, especially for low-income patients

2024-02-09
BOSTON, MA — A new study led by researchers at the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute has found that reducing out-of-pocket costs for patients with diabetes, especially those considered low income, can be one step toward improving health outcomes. The study, “Acute Diabetes Complications After Transition to a Value-Based Medication Benefit,” was published in the February 9 edition of JAMA Health Forum. Treatment with antidiabetic agents, antihypertensives, and lipid-lowering ...

Thermal energy storage and the energy transition: MLU coordinates Europe-wide research project

2024-02-09
An international research project led by the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) delves into the next generation of seasonal thermal energy storage systems. The "INTERSTORES" project is investigating optimal ways to construct new types of storage systems and integrate them into energy systems. The collaboration between science and industry will receive nearly eleven million euros as part of "Horizon Europe", with around 1.5 million euros going to MLU. The aim is to improve the ...

An anticancer drug opens a new path for the treatment of Parkinson's

2024-02-09
L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, February 8th, 2024. Once they enter the body, drugs, apart from carrying out their therapeutic function, are biochemically transformed by the action of the metabolic machinery, a process that facilitates their expulsion. This biotransformation results in a gradual disappearance of the drug, which is converted into its metabolites. These, in turn, can reach high concentrations in the body and also show a biological activity that may be different from that of the original drug. That is, the metabolites and the drug coexist ...

Innovative coating prevents limescale formation

Innovative coating prevents limescale formation
2024-02-09
Hot water tanks, washing machines, kettles: limescale forms in every domestic appliance that comes into contact with (hot) water – especially in areas where the water is hard, meaning high in calcium. Often the only thing that helps is to use vinegar or a special descaler to dissolve the rock-​hard deposits and restore the appliance’s functionality. This is a nuisance in households – and an expensive problem in thermal power stations, for example those that generate electricity, where the formation of limescale is known as fouling. Heat exchangers are particularly prone to limescale, which greatly reduces the efficiency of the systems: ...

Novel technique has potential to transform breast cancer detection

Novel technique has potential to transform breast cancer detection
2024-02-09
OAK BROOK, Ill. – An innovative breast imaging technique provides high sensitivity for detecting cancer while significantly reducing the likelihood of false positive results, according to a study published today in Radiology: Imaging Cancer, a journal of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). Researchers said the technique has the potential to offer more reliable breast cancer screening for a broader range of patients. Mammography is an effective screening tool for early detection of breast cancer, but its sensitivity ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

Tanzanian officials praise NEST360 contribution to newborn care

4D Medicine raises £3.4 million for unique biomaterial platform

Ancient marine animal had inventive past despite being represented by few species, new study finds

Quantum sensor for the atomic world developed through international scientific collaboration

The research was wrong: study shows moderate drinking won’t lengthen your life

Save your data on printable magnetic devices? New laser technique’s twist might make this reality

Early onset dementia more common than previously reported – the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease seems to be on the rise

Pesticides potentially as bad as smoking for increased risk in certain cancers

NUS researchers develop new battery-free technology to power electronic devices using ambient radiofrequency signals

New protein discovery may influence future cancer treatment

Timing matters: Scripps Research study shows ways to improve health alerts

New gene therapy approach shows promise for Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Chemical analyses find hidden elements from renaissance astronomer Tycho Brahe’s alchemy laboratory

Pacific Northwest launches clean hydrogen energy hub

Tiny deletion in heart muscle protein briefly affects embryonic ventricles but has long-term effects on adult atrial fibrillation

Harms of prescribing NSAIDs to high risk groups estimated to cost NHS £31m over 10 years

Wearing a face mask in public spaces cuts risk of common respiratory symptoms, suggests Norway study

Some private biobanks overinflating the value of umbilical cord blood banking in marketing to expectant parents

New research in fatty liver disease aims to help with early intervention

Genetics reveal ancient trade routes and path to domestication of the Four Corners potato

SNIS 2024: New study shows critical improvements in treating rare eye cancer in children

Wearable devices can increase health anxiety. Could they adversely affect health?

Addressing wounds of war

Rice researchers develop innovative battery recycling method

It’s got praying mantis eyes

Stroke recovery: It’s in the genes

Foam fluidics showcase Rice lab’s creative approach to circuit design

Montana State scientists publish evidence for new groups of methane-producing organisms

Daily rhythms depend on receptor density in biological clock

New England Journal of Medicine publishes outcomes from practice-changing E1910 trial for patients with BCR::ABL1-negative B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia

[Press-News.org] Temperature-sensitive prosthetic limb improves amputee dexterity and feelings of human connection