Volume 51 Number 6, 2014
Pages 907 — 918
Abstract — People with lower-limb amputation have reduced mobility due to loss of sensory information, which may be restored by artificial sensory feedback systems built into prostheses. For an effective system, it is important to understand how humans sense, interpret, and respond to the feedback that would be provided. The goal of this study was to examine sensorimotor responses to mobility-relevant stimuli. Three experiments were performed to examine the effects of location of stimuli, frequency of stimuli, and means for providing the response. Stimuli, given as vibrations, were applied to the thigh region, and responses involved leg movements. Sensorimotor reaction time (RT) was measured as the duration between application of the stimulus and initiation of the response. Accuracy of response was also measured. Overall average RTs for one response option were 0.808 +/– 0.142 s, and response accuracies were >90%. Higher frequencies (220 vs 140 Hz) of vibration stimulus provided in anterior regions of the thigh produced the fastest RTs. When participants were presented with more than one stimulus and response option, RTs increased. Findings suggest that long sensorimotor responses may be a limiting factor in the development of an artificial feedback system for mobility rehabilitation applications; however, feed-forward techniques could potentially help to address these limitations.
Key words: amputation, biofeedback, lower-limb amputation, mobility rehabilitation, proprioception, reaction time, sensorimotor responses, sensory feedback, transfemoral, vibration.
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Last Reviewed or Updated Wednesday, October 15, 2014 3:25 PM