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Restoration of Sensation Using High-Tech Prostheses - Overview

Maya Nikova, Burdju Cicek, Radost Dimitrova, Yordan Slavov, Berkehan Koroglu


Introduction: Rapid development of carbon-fiber technology, 3D printing, neuroscience and biomedical engineering have made possible the creation of more functional, lifelike, strong, durable and consciously controlled prostheses. Whilst impressive, all these developments do not make the prostheses a part of the body but rather an additional tool. However, recent breakthroughs show a promise of giving somatosensation to the limb prostheses.

Materials and Methods: The information for this scientific overview was gathered using the search platform of PubMed and using the keywords: limb, prostheses, sensation, cortex, neuroprostheses. The articles used in this review are all written after the year 2013 and have been published in peer-reviewed journals with impact factor.

Results: Research in the fields of neuroscience and biomedical engineering has led to the development of prostheses which have somatosensation. All prostheses developed this far are currently on the animal testing stage of clinical research. Acquiring somatosensation is accomplished by using appropriate receptors in the prostheses to gather the needed information which is sent to a neural interface (consisting of microelectrons) implanted in the somatosensory cortex. Using the interface, intracortical microstimulations (ICMS) stimulate the various mapped out areas of the somatosensory cortex and provide the sensation of touch, pressure, etc.

Conclusion: Despite the innovative nature of these prostheses they are still not ready to be used by human patients. This is due to the numerous risks that accompany the implantation process and the actual function of the prostheses and the brain interface. These problems, however, may soon be overcome due to the rapid development of neuroscience and biomechanical engineering.


limb, prostheses, sensation, cortex, neuroprostheses


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