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A Psychometric Platform to Collect Somatosensory Sensations for Neuroprosthetic Use

  • Valle, Giacomo1, 2
  • Iberite, Francesco1
  • Strauss, Ivo1
  • D'Anna, Edoardo3
  • Granata, Giuseppe4
  • Di Iorio, Riccardo4
  • Stieglitz, Thomas5
  • Raspopovic, Stanisa2
  • Petrini, Francesco M.2
  • Rossini, Paolo M.6
  • Micera, Silvestro1, 3
  • 1 The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa , (Italy)
  • 2 Department of Health Sciences and Technology, Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Systems, ETH Zürich, Zurich , (Switzerland)
  • 3 Bertarelli Foundation Chair in Translational Neuroengineering, Centre for Neuroprosthetics, School of Engineering, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Institute of Bioengineering, Lausanne , (Switzerland)
  • 4 Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico (IRCCS)-Policlinic A. Gemelli Foundation, Institute of Neurology, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome , (Italy)
  • 5 Laboratory for Biomedical Microtechnology, Department of Microsystems Engineering–IMTEK, Bernstein Center, BrainLinks-BrainTools Cluster of Excellence, University of Freiburg, Freiburg , (Germany)
  • 6 Department Neuroscience and Neurorehabilitation, IRCCS S. Raffaele-Pisana, Rome , (Italy)
Published Article
Frontiers in Medical Technology
Frontiers Media S.A.
Publication Date
Mar 09, 2021
DOI: 10.3389/fmedt.2021.619280
  • Medical Technology
  • Technology and Code


Somatosensory neuroprostheses exploit invasive and non-invasive feedback technologies to restore sensorimotor functions lost to disease or trauma. These devices use electrical stimulation to communicate sensory information to the brain. A sensation characterization procedure is thus necessary to determine the appropriate stimulation parameters and to establish a clear personalized map of the sensations that can be restored. Several questionnaires have been described in the literature to collect the quality, type, location, and intensity of the evoked sensations, but there is still no standard psychometric platform. Here, we propose a new psychometric system containing previously validated questionnaires on evoked sensations, which can be applied to any kind of somatosensory neuroprosthesis. The platform collects stimulation parameters used to elicit sensations and records subjects' percepts in terms of sensation location, type, quality, perceptual threshold, and intensity. It further collects data using standardized assessment questionnaires and scales, performs measurements over time, and collects phantom limb pain syndrome data. The psychometric platform is user-friendly and provides clinicians with all the information needed to assess the sensory feedback. The psychometric platform was validated with three trans-radial amputees. The platform was used to assess intraneural sensory feedback provided through implanted peripheral nerve interfaces. The proposed platform could act as a new standardized assessment toolbox to homogenize the reporting of results obtained with different technologies in the field of somatosensory neuroprosthetics.

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