Project Details


The vast majority of hand amputees still use only cosmetic prostheses or do not use prosthesis at all. This depends on multiple factors but the important reason is limitations in man-machine interface with very limited control and sensory feedback to the user. Sensory feedback from the hand is vital part of good hand function and sense of “ownership” of the body part. This has so far not been achieved in hand prosthetic systems.

Our multidiciplinary project aims at development of a new and advanced thought-controlled hand prosthesis with improved interface between the human and the prosthesis, mimicing the sensory and motor capacities and fine grip functions of a normal hand. Today there are only few hand prostheses available for clinical use. They have only one or two grip functions and lack a conscious sensory feedback. Due to the limited functionality, the hand prostheses currently available are often not used by amputees.

This project is a continuation of “SMART-hand” (2006-2010) which is an EU-funded project. Sixth Framework programme, contract no. NMP4-CT-2006-00334231, ending Oct. 2009, coordinated at the Dept. of Electrical measurement, by Fredrik Sebelius, Lund University, The SMART-hand project is based on NUTEK/VINNOVA funded ”Framtidens hand/armprotes baserad på nervchips, artificiella neurala nätverk och artificiell känsel”.

Within the SmartHand project a prototype for a new hand prosthesis has been developed. The prosthesis is controlled by sixteen electromyography (EMG) channels. The control system gives increased motor control. This prototype will be used in the development of the sensory feedback system. An important part of the project is the development of sensors and miniaturised actuators. In the current project lies industrial collaboration and clinical application of the system including further development of the system, clinical application and cortical integration. Thus, there are distinctive unique features of the proposed system that have a highly competitive advantage and applied in a prosthetic hand system is an innovative step forward compared to existing systems.

Our sensory feedback concept is based on tactile sensors in the prosthesis connected to an array of tactile stimulators on the intact skin on the amputation stump. Almost all amputees have a phantom hand map on the stump. Every time the sensors are activated in every day use of the prosthesis touch and manipulation of objects cause a tactile stimulation on the phantom hand map on the stump. The concept utilises the neural mechanoreceptors for pressure in the forearm skin, hereby inducing physiologically natural stimuli.

MRI and DTI techniques will be used for examination of cortical reorganisation following nerve injury and cortical activity during sensory and motor activity and cortical integration of an artificial hand.

fMRI-studies from our group have shown that the sensory remapping occurring on amputees activate the cortical somatosensory location of the original hand. These very interesting findings hold a promising future that the artificial sensation really could be perceived as real and an original sensation.
Effective start/end date2010/01/01 → …

UKÄ subject classification

  • Neurosciences

Free keywords

  • hand prosthesis