Researchers from Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have developed a non-invasive device called MiniTouch that allows amputees to regain temperature sensation in their phantom hand. The device provides thermal feedback about the object being touched, enhancing the sense of touch and creating a more realistic experience. Over a two-year study involving 27 volunteers, the technology demonstrated successful results in 17 patients, with participants reporting a reconnection to their missing hand.
The device includes a wearable sensor placed over a prosthetic finger, which detects thermal information about the object being touched. Thermal electrodes on the amputee’s residual arm provide temperature feedback, enabling the sensation of warmth or coldness. The research team aims to further refine the technology and integrate it into wearable devices such as prosthetics. The study has been published in the journal Science.