Sensory Feedback in Lower Limb Prostheses
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Does the loss of limb necessarily entail the loss of sensation that limb provided? We argue that it does not. Targeted Reinnervation surgery provides a way to restore native feelings of sensation: it is an increasingly common procedure that can be leveraged to elicit phantom sensations, and we describe a method to characterize and make use of these sensations in the lower limb. Even without this surgery, it is still possible to provide amputees with a source of useful information as a supraphysiological source of sensory feedback. By developing and evaluating a prosthetic device for lower-limb amputees that uses vibration to provide sensory cues, we demonstrate improved confidence in foot placement during stair descent. This work aims to motivate and guide the development of lower limb prostheses with attention paid to sensation.
- Mechanical engineering