Virtual Reality May Help Enhance Prosthetic Experience for Amputees

Posted in: Serious Personal Injury | Oct 03,2018

Amputation victims who use prosthetic or artificial limbs may find it hard to cope with the use of the new limb. Researchers have been experimenting with virtual reality technology to enhance the use of such prosthetics for these persons.

Amputations can result after nearly any type of accident, including car, truck or motorcycle accidents. Amputations can also occur after the person has suffered a crushing injury in a workplace accident, or as the result of a fall. In many such injury cases, surgically amputating the injured limb may be the only medical option available to doctors.

Amputation can be a traumatic experience. Fortunately, prosthetic devices are available to help amputees regain some control of their functions.  However, prosthetic devices are artificial limbs, and amputees often struggle with coordinating the use of their prosthetic device to more closely mimic the use of their former natural limb. This is often very difficult to achieve, making the use of the prosthetic device unnatural, and sometimes cumbersome.

Now, researchers have announced that virtual technology can help amputees use their prosthetic devices more naturally by allowing them to embody the natural limb. The researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne combined virtual reality technology with neural simulation in order to help prosthetic device wearers use their devices more efficiently and naturally.

In the study, the amputees wore headsets equipped with virtual reality technology. They were then subjected to artificial tactile impulses that allowed them to not just see that they were using the limb, but also “experience” the touch of the object they were holding. With practice, the technology may allow users to experience the illusion that their prosthetic and their natural limb are the same. This can greatly enhance their experience of the prosthetic device, helping make it more natural for them to use the device often in their daily routines.

Life after a crushing injury or an amputation can be stressful. However, advancements in prosthetics technology have been staggering, and now allow amputees access to a wide range of physical functions compared to a few decades earlier. If you or a loved one have suffered an amputation as a result of the negligence of another, talk to an Indianapolis personal injury lawyer at Montross Miller and discuss your legal options to file a claim. Initial consultations at our firm are free.