proCover: Sensory Augmentation of Prosthetic Limbs Using Smart Textile Covers


Today’s commercially available prosthetic limbs lack tactile sensation and feedback. Recent research in this domain focuses on sensor technologies designed to be directly embedded into future prostheses. We present a novel concept and prototype of a prosthetic-sensing wearable that offers a noninvasive, self-applicable and customizable approach for the sensory augmentation of present-day and future low to midrange priced lower-limb prosthetics. From consultation with eight lower-limb amputees, we investigated the design space for prosthetic sensing wearables and developed novel interaction methods for dynamic, user-driven creation and mapping of sensing regions on the foot to wearable haptic feedback actuators. Based on a pilot-study with amputees, we assessed the utility of our design in scenarios brought up by the amputees and we summarize our findings to establish future directions for research into using smart textiles for the sensory enhancement of prosthetic limbs.