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Artificial Redirection of Sensation From Prosthetic Fingers to the Phantom Hand Map on Transradial Amputees: Vibrotactile Versus Mechanotactile Sensory Feedback

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7 Author(s)
Antfolk, C. ; Dept. of Meas. Technol. & Ind. Electr. Eng., Lund Univ., Lund, Sweden ; D'Alonzo, M. ; Controzzi, M. ; Lundborg, G.
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This work assesses the ability of transradial amputees to discriminate multi-site tactile stimuli in sensory discrimination tasks. It compares different sensory feedback modalities using an artificial hand prosthesis in: 1) a modality matched paradigm where pressure recorded on the five fingertips of the hand was fed back as pressure stimulation on five target points on the residual limb; and 2) a modality mismatched paradigm where the pressures were transformed into mechanical vibrations and fed back. Eight transradial amputees took part in the study and were divided in two groups based on the integrity of their phantom map; group A had a complete phantom map on the residual limb whereas group B had an incomplete or nonexisting map. The ability in localizing stimuli was compared with that of 10 healthy subjects using the vibration feedback and 11 healthy subjects using the pressure feedback (in a previous study), on their forearms, in similar experiments. Results demonstrate that pressure stimulation surpassed vibrotactile stimulation in multi-site sensory feedback discrimination. Furthermore, we demonstrate that subjects with a detailed phantom map had the best discrimination performance and even surpassed healthy participants for both feedback paradigms whereas group B had the worst performance overall. Finally, we show that placement of feedback devices on a complete phantom map improves multi-site sensory feedback discrimination, independently of the feedback modality.

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Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:21 ,  Issue: 1 )