Kinea Design LLC research and engineering design services firm is developing a new kind of prosthetic known as Sensorized Biomechatronic Prosthetics that will enable amputees to "experience" touch, sensing temperature, texture, pressure and friction.

Kinea Design's biomechatronic technology forms part of the research being undertaken for the multinational Revolutionizing Prosthetics 2009 (RP 2009) initiative. The firm's research and advanced electromechanical prosthesis project is sponsored by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Kinea Design's new technology gives arm amputees unprecedented dexterous control over their new limb. The electromechanical prosthesis enables thought-controlled movement and provides the wearer with sensory feedback that mimics the sensations one would experience with a natural hand and arm.

"These innovations overcome key limitations of conventional mechanical prostheses, which are typically simple grippers without tactile feeling capabilities, requiring users to rely on vision to control their artificial arm," wrote Kinea Design in their December 16 press release.

Kinea Design's project and the works of other RP 2009 collaborators will appear in National Geographic's January 2010 issue.