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Design and Validation of a Skin-Covered, Linkage-Driven Implantable Prosthesis

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The soft fur of an animal, the pain that protects us from the burn of a hot mug, and the tender touch of a loved one, are sensations we often take for granted. Unfortunately, people with hand prostheses have only the ability to hold and move objects but they cannot “feel” the object. Providing sensation through a prosthetic device is a major unmet need. Current prostheses lack the sensory feedback mechanism to take in data from external environments and convert it into “natural” sensation for the user. The objective of this study is to find a functional solution for people with thumb amputations that restores embodiment of the prosthesis and sensation to the thumb.This thesis proposes a surgical and mechanical solution to transfer skin onto a novel implantable prosthetic thumb. Since current designs of prosthetic fingers do not allow for fixation to the bone and implantation under the skin, the first aim of this study is to design a prosthetic thumb that is implantable, allows for osseointegration with the residual phalanx, and restores grasp motion. To test the surgical solutions, the second aim of this study is to design a rat model that utilizes similar surgical techniques and allows for implantation of a prosthesis.

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This item is under embargo until June 10, 2023.