Prosthetic Hand Allows Amputee to Sense Temperature in Major Advance

Revolutionizing Sensation: Lausanne Researchers Create Passive Thermal Sensing System for Amputees

In a groundbreaking study, scientists from the Technical University of Lausanne, Scola Supérieure have shown that their thermal sensing system can reproduce a passive temperature sensation in 17 out of 27 amputees tested. This is a significant step forward in restoring sensation to robotic hands, as temperature has long been considered one of the significant difficulties.

The team of researchers has demonstrated that their technology can be easily integrated into commercial prosthetic limbs and enables sensation during tasks that require the activity of sensory and motor neurons. This is particularly important as it allows amputees to feel cold and heat while the hand is moving.

Beyond its functional importance, thermal information can also improve the ability of amputees to experience emotional touch. In a recent test, a 57-year-old man who underwent an amputation 37 years ago was able to distinguish between visually indistinguishable bottles containing cold water at a temperature of 12 degrees Celsius, cool at 24 degrees Celsius or hot at 40 degrees Celsius using the device. Additionally, the prosthesis improved its ability to quickly and accurately sort metal cubes at different temperatures.

The researchers are currently working on further improvements to the system before it will begin marketing worldwide. This breakthrough has the potential to greatly enhance the quality of life for amputees by providing them with greater sensory feedback and allowing them to better interact with their environment.

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