Recent developments in prosthetics for amputee patients, integrating both the decoding of voluntary motor function and tactile feedback via implanted electrodes, hold the promise of more natural interaction of the patient with the prosthetic limb. Studies have shown that it is possible to encode rich tactile feedback for the patient to perceive the level of stiffness of the objects (Raspopovic 2014), the texture coarseness (Oddo 2016), or position of the fingers of the prosthesis (D’Anna 2019).
Overall the integration of these novel sensory afferences has increased patients’ level of dexterity and embodiment (Valle 2018). However, we are still far from a complete reproduction of the rich haptic perception of an intact hand. In this study, we aim at reducing the gap by introducing temperature feedback for upper-limb amputee patients via a high-performance temperature display.
Beyond the obvious advantage of informing patients if an object is cold, warm or dangerously hot, enhancing existing prosthetics with temperature feedback has the potential to increase the embodiment of the prosthetic, the ability of the patient to discriminate different materials and textures, and create the basis for an affective touch.