New high-tech prosthetic leg 'feels like real limb' - amputee
The world's first artificial leg capable of simulating the feelings of a real limb and fighting phantom pain was unveiled by researchers in Vienna yesterday.
The innovation is the result of a process developed by Professor Hubert Egger at the University of Linz in northern Austria. Surgeons first rewired remaining foot nerve endings from a patient's stump to healthy tissue in the thigh, placing them close to the skin surface. Six sensors were then fitted to the foot sole of a lightweight prosthesis, and linked to so-called stimulators inside the shaft where the stump sits.
"It's like a second lease of life, like being reborn," amputee Wolfgang Rangger, who has been testing it for six months, said. "It feels like I have a foot again. I no longer slip on ice and I can tell whether I walk on gravel, concrete, grass or sand."