Neuroprosthetic systems that can work with prosthetic legs are currently being developed to provide individuals with lower-limb amputation with intent control over their device and sensory feedback. No such system is commercially available, and the effects of providing functions that have previously not been available to lower-limb prosthetic users are unclear.
Here we present investigations of the perceptions of multiple stakeholders (prosthetic users, physician, psychologist, physiotherapist, prosthetist, and groups of prosthetic designers and engineers) on prosthetic user problems and the development of neuroprosthetics. The investigation entailed semistructured interviews, focus group discussions, and a contextual inquiry.
Our findings indicate that prosthetic users may face several challenges that can potentially be addressed via neurological interfacing. We further identified criteria perceived as integral for the development of lower-limb neuroprostheses as well as considerations for the actualization of a usable system that reaches end users.
On the whole, the field of neuroprosthetics has great potential to increase the wellbeing, mobility, and quality of life of persons with lower-limb amputation.