Grasping an object is one of the most common and complex actions performed by humans. The human brain can adapt and update the grasp dynamics through information received from sensory feedback. Prosthetic hands can assist with the mechanical performance of grasping, however currently commercially available prostheses do not address the disruption of the sensory feedback loop. Providing feedback about a prosthetic hand's grasp force magnitude is a top priority for those with limb loss. This study tested a wearable haptic system, i.e., the Clenching Upper-Limb Force Feedback device (CUFF), which was integrated with a novel robotic hand (The SoftHand Pro). The SoftHand Pro was controlled with myoelectrics of the forearm muscles. Five participants with limb loss and nineteen able-bodied participants completed a constrained grasping task (with and without feedback) which required modulation of the grasp to reach a target force. This task was performed while depriving participants of incidental sensory sources (vision and hearing were significantly limited with glasses and headphones). The data were analyzed with Functional Principal Component Analysis (fPCA). CUFF feedback improved grasp precision for participants with limb loss who typically use body-powered prostheses as well as a sub-set of able-bodied participants. Further testing, that is more functional and allows participants to use all sensory sources, is needed to determine if CUFF feedback can accelerate mastery of myoelectric control or would benefit specific patient sub-groups.
ASJC Scopus subject areas