Prosthesis allows amputees to feel knees and feet
A major challenge for science in the area of prosthesis and motion sensation recovery is the development of mechanisms that can "return" the body to the amputated citizen. Whether due to the search for confidence in regaining physical autonomy and reducing its limitations or the psychological issue, involving the treatment of the patient's self-esteem, the prosthetic device becomes an essential resource for the dismemberment of the dismembered individual, despite its costs. not accessible to most of those in need of care.
Thinking through this physical, social and psychological context, the Össur company has developed a new prosthetic mechanism based on the recognition of the body's neural signals, which communicate via Bluetooth with electrodes formulated by scientists at the University of Freiburg. In this way, the algorithms convert the connection into continuous nerve signals, which, through communication between nerves and prosthesis, create the sensation of feet and knees. "The goal of the surgery was to introduce electrodes into the correct nerve sites within the nerve to allow restoration of real-like sensory responses, and to allow electrode stability, " said Marko Bumbasirevic, the lead clinician.
Focused on leg sensitivity, the prosthesis was used in two patients in a series of tests, helping them to move faster and with less physical wear, as if the movements approached a natural rather than simple force. to "push" the legs.
Despite the pains experienced by the connection of the prosthesis and nerves, patients report not feeling "phantom pain", ie, dislocated pain from a real sensation, leaving the research and analysis team somewhat optimistic, but still far from Finish practices with volunteers to reach definitive conclusions about how their staff works.
"This proof of concept study shows how beneficial it is for amputees to have a prosthesis that works with neural implants to recover the sensory response, " says Stanisa Raspopovic, professor at the Zurich Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems.
SensArs, together with EPFL researchers, Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa, University of Montpellier and mBrainTrain are also contributing to the project, which is not expected to hit the market.