New Prosthetic Hand System Allows User To 'Feel' Again
Researchers have developed a new prosthetic hand system with a fully implanted, wirelessly controlled neurostimulator that has restored "feeling" to a person with a hand amputation. Arizona State University researcher James Abbas is part of the multi-institutional research team. The ground-breaking research was revealed today at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience.
Impressively, it marks the first time a person has been fitted with a neural-enabled prosthetic hand (NEPH) system that can be used outside the laboratory in an everyday, real-world environment.
Abbas, an associate professor of biomedical engineering in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, began work on this integrated team effort with lead investigator Ranu Jung more than ten years ago while colleagues in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering at ASU.
"Our system is the first one that is wearable for long-term use beyond the laboratory setting," says Abbas, who directs ASU's Center for Adaptive Neural Systems and has expertise in neural engineering techniques and medical rehabilitation technology.
"All of the components are either mounted on the prosthesis or implanted in the body.
"The system is familiar to him as it is not that different from using and wearing a regular prosthesis, but now when he touches something he gets feeling in the phantom hand and fingers he's lost."
The team's research builds on the pioneering work of FIU research professor Kenneth Horch, and extends the sensing technology beyond the lab.
"The participant has reported enhanced confidence in performing daily tasks. He is able to interact with objects around him and determine the answers to questions surrounding sensation, such as 'Have I touched it? How hard am I squeezing it? How large and soft is it?'" said Jung, professor and chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Florida International University.
"I am so grateful to the participant for believing in our research and giving us the opportunity to work with him to test our technology. My hope is that this will enhance his life for the better."
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