April 2021
Vol 7, Issue 17

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

ONLINE COVER Even when using the most advanced available prostheses, people with above-knee leg amputations suffer from a lack of sensory feedback. Recently, Valle et al. developed a nerve-machine system that delivers electrical stimulation to an amputee's residual tibial nerve, enabling the translation of prosthetic sensor readouts for the nervous system in real time. However, it was not understood how restoring this artificial feedback influences users' sensorimotor strategies. To better understand the mechanisms behind this technology, Valle and colleagues measured gait markers in two leg amputees equipped with sensorized neuroprostheses as they performed various motor tasks. They observed that the amputees used novel sensorimotor strategies with the prostheses that allowed them to walk at higher speeds. Additionally, the prostheses allowed for finer pressure estimation when pushing a gas pedal during a possible conventional car-driving scenario. The findings provided clear evidence that restoring sensory feedback to lower limb amputees through direct nerve stimulation offers gait benefits. Additionally, the study suggests that simple sensors may work well for future robotic prostheses. [CREDIT: PIETRO COMASCHI]