New bionic prosthetic allows amputees to feel their leg

Scientists have created a bionic leg allows amputees to sense their knees, legs and feet as they walk.

    2019/10/04

NSFW    ZURICH — Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, or ETH Zurich, and several other European universities collaborated to create a leg neuroprosthesis that sends sensory information to nerves in amputees' leg stump.

A study published in Science Translational Medicine detailed the researchers' findings.

The sensorized prosthetic was tested on three different amputees as they conducted different activities such as walking up and down the stairs with and without the neuroprosthesis.

The study found that the sensorized bionic prosthetic allowed the participants to successfully feel obstacles underneath their foot, prevented them from falling and allowed them to walk faster.

Scientists implanted tiny electrodes into the amputees' residual nerves and placed an insole with sensors under the bionic foot as well as sensors above the prosthetic knee.

Signals were then sent to the residual nerves as the person walked.

The nerves were able to send sensory information to the amputees' brain, allowing them to feel their knee, heel and the rest of their foot as they walked.

In a press release from ETH Zurich, researchers explained that this technology improves the health of amputees as it would reduce phantom pain in their limb and improve their walking ability.

The scientists noted that the study was limited as there were only three participants and said that more volunteers as well as in-home assessments were needed to provide a stronger assessment to the study's findings.
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