New Artificial Leg Provides Feeling For Amputee (Video)

| by Michael Allen

An artificial leg that creates "feeling" for the wearer has been developed at the University of Linz in Austria.

The new limb was debuted today (video below).

According to the BBC, "Surgeons first rewired nerve endings in the patient's stump to place them close to the skin surface. Six sensors were fitted to the base of the foot, to measure the pressure of heel, toe and foot movement. Sensors were fitted to the sole of the prosthetic. These signals were relayed to a micro-controller which relayed them to stimulators inside the shaft where it touched the base of the stump."

Professor Hubert Egger, who developed the prosthetic leg, told AFP, "The sensors tell the brain there is a foot and the wearer has the impression that it rolls off the ground when he walks. All things considered, the procedure is a very simple one given the results."

Wolfgang Rangger, who lost his right leg in 2007 to a blood clot and now wears the leg, added, "It feels like I have a foot again. I no longer slip on ice and I can tell whether I walk on gravel, concrete, grass or sand. I can even feel small stones."

The prosthesis has also eliminated the phantom pain that Rangger has experienced since having his leg removed.

Egger said this phantom pain happens because the brain is trying find information about the missing leg, but the feeling coming from the prosthesis gives the brain the nerve information it seeks, causing the brain to calm down.

Egger hopes the market the new prosthesis, but bring down the current price.

Sources: AFP, BBC
Image Credit: AFP Screenshot