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New Tech Lets Amputees Feel Temperature in Phantom Hands

Thermal electrodes placed on the residual arm of amputees allow them to differentiate between different materials and temperatures.

Reuters:denis Balibouse
REUTERS: Denis Balibouse

Each year there are new advancements in prosthetics that are increasingly life-like. In that vein, a recent Reuters article discussed a new technique that allows amputees to feel the sensation of warmth and cold in their phantom hands. Using thermal electrodes placed on the skin of their residual arm, amputees reported experiencing hot or cold sensations in their phantom hand and fingers. Some participants were even able to distinguish between different materials such as plastic, glass, and copper, indicating the precise sensation locations.

The technology doesn’t require implantation; rather, it is worn on the skin and works in combination with a regular prosthetic. The researchers aim to continue developing the device, and conduct large-scale testing, with the ultimate goal of enhancing tactile sensations for amputees. The trials have shown promising results in helping amputees regain a sense of touch and temperature, while improving their quality of life and social interactions.

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