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Prostheses with Sensory Feedback

Prof. Dr. Thomas Stieglitz and his team develop electrodes that help patients that suffered an amputation to obtain a hand with sensory capacities. Connected to the prosthetic hand “LifeHand2” the electrodes let the patients acquire an artificial sense of touch and enable them to control the hand’s movement.


Grasping a manderine orange without damaging it: sensory feedback makes it possible even with a protheses. (Foto: lifehand2project)


Sensing and grasping as if it was a real hand: In this video nine years after his hand was amputated Dennis Aabo Sørensen obtains a biomechatronical hand – the LifeHand 2. Prof. Dr. Thomas Stieglitz and his team from the department of microsystem engineering (IMTEK) as well as researchers of five additional institutions made this possible.
Electrodes were surgically inserted in Dennis’ upper arm. The researchers at IMTEK at the University of Freiburg developed the electrodes that were attached to the peripheral nerves during this operation. By means of this interface Dennis receives Information about form and texture of objects that he wants to grasp. This enables Dennis to feel objects and to grasp them precisely by applying the correct force. In this clip Dennis and researchers report on the operation and how they tested the new hand.





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Since 2004 Thomas Stieglitz is head of the Laboratory for Biomedical Microtechnology at the department for microsystems engineering at Freiburg University. Together with 15 researchers he develops electrodes for neural interfaces and implants.
Afer studying electrical engeneering at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology he obtained a PhD of the Universtiy of Saarbrücken in 1998. From 1996 to 2004 he was employed as a researcher at the
Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering. He was awarded the professors degree for biomedical microsystems technology in Saarbrücken in 2002. He then accepted a professorship in Freiburg at the technical faculty in 2004. From 2009 until 2010 he stayed at the University of New South Wales as visiting scientist.
His research focusses on the development of minute implants that record electric signals of the nervous system and can electrically stimulate nerves.
Stieglitz is a group leader at the cluster of excellence BrainLinks-BrainTools.


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Source: lifehand2project/ Universität Freiburg

In the OR


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The team of doctors during the surgery


Electrodes ready for implantation


Directly after implantation, while still in the operating room researchers test the functionality of electrodes

LifeHand2_Surgery_23_ELEKTRODE-verkleinert.jpg   LifeHand2_ThomasSTIEGLITZ_06_OP_STIEGLITZ_verkleinert.jpg        
Electrodes ready for implantation

Prof. Thomas Stieglitz documenting the operation



The artifical hand





Fingertips on the artificial hand have integrated sensors


The artificial hand



During the testing phase


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Patient Dennis Aabo Sorensen with artificial hand


The team of researchers installs and controls the artificial hand

  Patient Dennis Aabo Sorensen testing the hand on a plastic cup blindfolded
LifeHand2_Tests_44_TEST_MANDARINE_verkleinert.jpg   LifeHand2_Tests_28_TESTS_BALL_verleinert.jpg    
Patient grasping a mandarine orange
  Testing grip: the patient holds a blue ball with the prostheses


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