Opinions on noninvasive sensory feedback of upper limb prosthetic users

F. Clay Smither, Karen L. Andrews, Tyson L. Scrabeck, Ryan J. Lennon, Kristin D. Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background:Restoring touch perception for individuals with upper extremity limb loss is an ambitious task. It is important to understand how persons with upper limb loss think this would be best achieved.Methods:An anonymous online survey was developed to obtain data from prosthetic users. Participants ranked the perceived acceptability and effectiveness of noninvasive sensory feedback to areas of intact sensation not typically involved in sensory feedback (i.e., the arm). The focus was on 4 main types of haptic information-object contact, proprioception, surface texture, and grasp force-as well as how best to convey those senses with various stimuli. The users were asked to grade themselves in certain tasks and then analyze which tasks would be improved with sensory feedback. Associations were explored between demographic characteristics and interest in sensory feedback.Results:Nationally, prostheses providers sent more than 2000 email invitations to the online survey and received 142 unique responses. Responses indicated interest in sensory feedback through prosthetic limbs by individuals with upper limb loss. The most popular pairing of haptic information with sensory substitution was grasp force paired with gentle vibration. Tasks that most persons taking the survey agreed would benefit from sensory feedback were zipping a jacket, tying shoes, buttoning a shirt, and using a cup. No difference was observed in interest between sex and employment status, but a significant decrease (P =.004) was seen in interest among participants with more years of prosthetic use.Discussion:The results from this national survey of upper extremity prosthetic users can be used to help guide the development of noninvasive sensory feedback options.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-600
Number of pages10
JournalProsthetics and Orthotics International
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2022


  • haptics
  • prosthetic control
  • prosthetic design
  • sensory feedback
  • survey
  • upper limb loss
  • upper limb prostheses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)


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