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The NEBIAS prostheses reduce amputees’ phantom limb pain

Prosthetic arm that feel like a natural part of the user
credit: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Wikimedia Commons

Phantom limb pain is a phenomenon where amputees can feel very intense pain. That’s why making a prosthetic body parts, that feels like a natural part of a person, is one of the biggest challenges for improving quality of life for amputees. These new technologies stimulate the nerves and could help reduce the impact of phantom limb pain.

Silvestro Micera, a professor of translational neuroengineering at Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland, called his project NEBIAS. He developed a robotic hand that provides sensory feedback to the user – an implant positioned under the skin that connects to the person’s nerves. It transmits information to the brain from sensors in the hand by stimulating the nerves with electrical signals. This allows a person to feel object and, for example, to tell if it is soft or hard.

Prof. Silvestro Micera try to understand how to develop a hand prosthesis that feels like a natural part of the human body. The NEBIAS prostheses could be significant to help reduce the impact of phantom limb pain.

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