Design and technical construction of a tactile display for sensory feedback in a hand prosthesis system
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Biomedical Engineering Online
Förlag: BioMed Central Ltd
Background: The users of today's commercial prosthetic hands are not given any conscious sensory feedback. To overcome this deficiency in prosthetic hands we have recently proposed a sensory feedback system utilising a "tactile display" on the remaining amputation residual limb acting as man-machine interface. Our system uses the recorded pressure in a hand prosthesis and feeds back this pressure onto the forearm skin. Here we describe the design and technical solution of the sensory feedback system aimed at hand prostheses for trans-radial/humeral amputees. Critical parameters for the sensory feedback system were investigated. Methods: A sensory feedback system consisting of five actuators, control electronics and a test application running on a computer has been designed and built. Firstly, we investigate which force levels were applied to the forearm skin of the user while operating the sensory feedback system. Secondly, we study if the proposed system could be used together with a myoelectric control system. The displacement of the skin caused by the sensory feedback system would generate artefacts in the recorded myoelectric signals. Accordingly, EMG recordings were performed and an analysis of the these are included. The sensory feedback system was also preliminarily evaluated in a laboratory setting on two healthy non-amputated test subjects with a computer generating the stimuli, with regards to spatial resolution and force discrimination. Results: We showed that the sensory feedback system generated approximately proportional force to the angle of control. The system can be used together with a myoelectric system as the artefacts, generated by the actuators, were easily removed using a simple filter. Furthermore, the application of the system on two test subjects showed that they were able to discriminate tactile sensation with regards to spatial resolution and level of force. Conclusions: The results of these initial experiments in non-amputees indicate that the proposed tactile display, in its simple form, can be used to relocate tactile input from an artificial hand to the forearm and that the system can coexist with a myoelectric control systems. The proposed system may be a valuable addition to users of myoelectric prosthesis providing conscious sensory feedback during manipulation of objects.
- ISSN: 1475-925X