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The Short-Term Repeatability of Subdermal Electrical Stimulation for Sensory Feedback

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Jian Dong, Ernest Kamavuako, Strahinja Dosen, Winnie Jensen, Bo Geng

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63983-63992
JournalIEEE Access
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2020


  • JianEtAL2020

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    Final published version

King's Authors


Modern hand prostheses are used to restore the motor functions lost due to an amputation. However, the lack of sensory feedback remains a major challenge. Subdermal stimulation is a promising technique to restore tactile sensations when using prostheses, since it may overcome the disadvantages of surface electrodes without resorting to surgery that is required for a direct nerve interface. The present study evaluated the short-term repeatability of the perceptual properties of subdermal electrical stimulation over eight hours in healthy subjects and compared them to those of surface stimulation. Specifically, the detection threshold, pain threshold, dynamic range, just noticeable difference, resolution and quality of evokedsensationsweretestedandusedforshort-termrepeatabilityevaluation.Theresultsdemonstratedthat the detection threshold was more stable under subdermal stimulation, whereas the short-term repeatability of the pain threshold and just noticeable difference was better under surface stimulation. On the other hand, severalpsychometricparameters(dynamicrange,resolution,sensationquality,intensity,andcomfort)were equally stable and did not change significantly across sessions in either surface or subdermal stimulation. Thesubdermalstimulationwasbetterlocalizedandelicitedfewerunwantedsensationmodalities(p<0.05), whereas surface stimulation was characterized by a higher resolution (p < 0.05). The results suggest that subdermal stimulation could be a viable alternative for the implementation of electro-tactile feedback as it generatessensationsthatareequallystableasinsurfacestimulation,andyetithassomeimportantadvantages for the practical applications (e.g., compact interface, permanent placement).

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