World’s first ‘feeling’ prosthetic leg fitted in Austria
World’s first prosthetic (artificial) leg capable of simulating the feelings of a real limb and fighting phantom pain was unveiled by researchers in Vienna, Austria.
The first of its kind medical innovation is the result of a two-fold process which is developed by Professor Hubert Egger at the University of Linz, Austria.
This prosthetic leg was fitted on Wolfgang Rangger who had lost his right leg in 2007.
- The new feeling prosthetic leg was rewired to remaining foot nerve endings from Rangger’s stump to healthy tissue in the thigh by surgeons.
- Six sensors are fitted to the foot sole of prosthesis which are relayed to a micro-controller and linked to stimulators inside the shaft where the stump sits.
- These small sensor devices measure the pressure of heel, toe and foot movement and send these signals to the brain every time Rangger takes a step or applies pressure.
- The sensors also tell the brain there is a foot and the wearer has the impression that it rolls off the ground when he walks.
- The prosthesis also provides another remarkable function i.e. eradicate the excruciating phantom pain Mr Rangger had experienced for years following his amputation.
- This pain occurs because the brain gets increasingly sensitive as it seeks information about the missing limb.
Earlier in 2010, Austrian scientist he presented a mind-controlled prosthetic arm or bionic hand which allowed the amputee to feel sensations from their fingers.