Artificial Leg Allows Wearer to Feel Footsteps
A new prosthetic leg equipped with sensors is allowing an amputee to be able to feel "lifelike" sensations from his foot area. The device was created by a team of Austrian scientists.
The scientists fitted six sensors to the sole of the artificial foot, stimulating nerves at the base of the stump which surgeons first rewired to be closer to the skin surface. The nerve endings under the skin were stimulated which relayed signals to the brain. That has allowed Wolfgang Rangger, who lost his right leg in 2007 due to a blood clot, to feel different surfaces under his prosthetic leg, such as gravel or sand, He has been tested the device for six months.
Rangger says he now runs, cycles and goes climbing. Another major benefit, according to the scientists, has been a reduction in "phantom limb" pain felt by Rangger for years following the amputation.