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Skin-Stretch Proprioceptive

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Although recent improvements in prosthetic technology allow a user to control an upper limb prosthesis with some dexterity, a method for receiving proprioceptive feedback (the feeling of body position) has not yet been implemented in commercial hardware. The user must rely on visual feedback to know where his or her limb is in space. We designed and tested a skin-stretch device that rotates the skin about the circumference of the upper arm to relay proprioceptive information. The device consists of a rubber pad on a customized wheel that stretches the skin to the right or left by an amount proportional to the gripper aperture. The device has been incorporated into a system mimicking a typical myoelectric prosthetic arm, and tests have shown that users are easily able to discriminate levels of gripper opening with this skin-stretch feedback. This indicates performance operating a prosthetic gripper could be improved with this device.

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