Sunday 25 September 2016

New high-tech prosthetic leg 'feels like real limb' - amputee

Nina Lamparski

Published 09/06/2015 | 02:30

Wolfgang Rangger wears his artificial leg, which is capable of simulating the feelings of a real limb
Wolfgang Rangger wears his artificial leg, which is capable of simulating the feelings of a real limb

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.

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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."

Irish Independent

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