Study: New Prosthetic Hand Lets Amputee Sense Temperature

  • Scientists have developed a functional artificial limb with fingertip sensors that can deliver realistic thermal information to an amputee's residual limb, which the brain interprets as being still attached to the original hand. Smithsonian Magazine
  • Following the recent discovery of phantom thermal sensations in amputees, scientists integrated a standalone system into a robotic prosthetic hand to allow it to feel and respond to hot and cold temperatures. MED (LR: 3 CP: 5)
  • According to a study published last week in the journal Med, the "MiniTouch" device — which allowed a 57-year-old trans-radial amputee to distinguish objects of different temperatures manually — can be easily integrated with commercially available prosthetic limbs without surgery. Medicalxpress
  • In an experiment, the study participant reportedly could identify hot, cold, or ambient bottles with total accuracy with his modified prosthetic. However, his accuracy dropped to a third when the device's thermal sensor was turned off. New Scientist (LR: 3 CP: 3)
  • Prof. Silvestro Micera said that the scientists are "really close to restoring the full palette of sensations to amputees." The team next aims to allow amputees to feel sensations from multiple points — not just the index finger as is in the current version. Good News Network
  • He added that the "big next step" is to create a single wearable system to enable amputees to experience pressure, texture, position, temperature, and wetness. Guardian (LR: 2 CP: 5)

Narrative A:

  • With one of the last sensory frontiers of bionic limbs — temperature — now within sight, amputees are a step closer to living a fuller life. It gives individuals who have suffered dismemberment a stronger "this hand is mine" sense. This is taking it closer to its full potential — especially when added dexterity of the prosthetic is factored in. Once the safety requirements are met, a whole new life will open up for amputees.

Narrative B:

  • While the past decade's growth and innovations in the field of prosthetics have been phenomenal, this evolution also calls for a bird's-eye view of where this medical technology is headed. A critical analysis at this stage will help the field in its next steps to master and integrate these innovations. It's vital to build a solid framework in the medical industry to help these medical inventions reach their full promise.

Nerd narrative:

  • There's a 50% chance that the first medical treatment based on nanorobots will happen by Oct. 2033, according to the Metaculus prediction community.
    METACULUS (LR: 3 CP: 3)
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