Sensitivity to temporal parameters of intraneural tactile sensory feedback

Background Recent studies have shown that neural stimulation can be used to provide artificial sensory feedback to amputees eliciting sensations referred on the amputated hand. The temporal properties of the neural stimulation modulate aspects of evoked sensations that can be exploited in a bidirectional hand prosthesis. Methods We previously collected evidence that the derivative of the amplitude of the stimulation (intra-digit temporal dynamics) allows subjects to recognize object compliance and that the time delay among stimuli injected through electrodes implanted in different nerves (inter-digit temporal distance) allows to recognize object shapes. Nevertheless, a detailed characterization of the subjects' sensitivity to variations of intra-digit temporal dynamic and inter-digit temporal distance of the intraneural tactile feedback has not been executed. An exhaustive understanding of the overall potentials and limits of intraneural stimulation to deliver sensory feedback is of paramount importance to bring this approach closer and closer to the natural situation. To this aim, here we asked two trans-radial amputees to identify stimuli with different temporal characteristics delivered to the same active site (intra-digit temporal Dynamic Recognition (DR)) or between two active sites (inter-digit Temporal distance Recognition (TR)). Finally, we compared the results achieved for (simulated) TR with conceptually similar experiments with real objects with one subject. Results We found that the subjects were able to identify stimuli with temporal differences (perceptual thresholds) larger than 0.25 s for DR and larger than 0.125 s for TR, respectively. Moreover, we also found no statistically significant differences when the subjects were asked to identify three objects during simulated 'open-loop' TR experiments or real 'closed-loop' tests while controlling robotic hand. Conclusions This study is a new step towards a more detailed analysis of the overall potentials and limits of intraneural sensory feedback. A full characterization is necessary to develop more advanced prostheses capable of restoring all lost functions and of being perceived more as a natural limb by users.

Published in:
Journal Of Neuroengineering And Rehabilitation, 17, 1, 110
Aug 15 2020
London, BMC

 Record created 2020-09-10, last modified 2020-10-29

Rate this document:

Rate this document:
(Not yet reviewed)