Scientists at an Italian research institute have successfully developed the world’s first prosthetic limb that allows wearers to sense temperature and feel warmth, according to a recent study. The groundbreaking technology, known as MiniTouch, transmits thermal information from the fingertip of the prosthetic hand to the wearer’s residual arm.
In clinical tests, a 57-year-old man who has been an amputee for over three decades was able to distinguish between hot and cold objects with 100 percent accuracy using the MiniTouch device. Researchers believe that this breakthrough could potentially restore a full range of sensations through prosthetics, significantly improving the quality of life for amputees.
The MiniTouch prosthetic hand provides realistic and real-time thermal sensory feedback to the user. It can be attached to a point on the wearer’s remaining limb without requiring any invasive surgery. The device produces sensations in the phantom index finger, allowing wearers to experience temperature variations on their prosthetic limb.
One of the main goals for the research team is to integrate thermal information from multiple points on an amputee’s limb. By doing so, they hope to develop a multimodal system that can provide a richer and more natural perception of the tactile world. This innovation could lead to remarkable advancements in the field of prosthetics and enhance the overall sensory experience for amputees.
In addition to improving the ability to perceive temperature, the MiniTouch device has also shown promising results in improving the wearer’s ability to quickly classify objects of different temperatures. The researchers strongly believe that the enhanced sense of temperature will contribute to amputees’ embodiment and sense of ownership over their prosthetic limbs.
The development of the MiniTouch prosthetic hand represents a significant step forward in the field of prosthetics. It has the potential to revolutionize the lives of amputees by enabling them to experience the sensation of warmth and accurately perceive temperature. As the research continues, scientists are optimistic that the technology will continue to advance, opening up new possibilities for sensory restoration in the future.
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