Substantial progress has been made in the control of myoelectrically driven upper-limb prosthetics, which has improved the quality of life for many amputees. However, one of the biggest complaints that amputees still have about these commercially available prosthetics is the lack of tactile feedback. Tactile feedback is crucial not only for highly dexterous tasks, but also for basic manipulation of objects in daily life.
In our current prosthetics study, we are investigating the effect of haptic feedback on the operation efficacy of an upper-limb myoelectric prosthesis in able-bodied subjects. We have developed a force feedback device that can relay the grip force or aperture position of the terminal device on the prosthetic arm in a similar manner to body-powered prosthetics. We will compare this type of feedback to several other conditions such as vibrotactile feedback, no feedback, and the natural hand in a variety of object manipulation and discrimination tasks. The results of this study will help elucidate better tactile feedback mechanisms for myoelectric prostheses and provide enhanced understanding of how users integrate haptic feedback to control such prostheses.