State of the art of prosthesis simulators for the upper limb: A narrative review

Maaike Sinke, Alix Chadwell, Gerwin Smit*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleScientificpeer-review

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Background: Research into prosthesis training and design puts a burden on the small population of people with upper-limb absence who can participate in these studies. One solution is to use a prosthetic hand simulator, which allows for attaching a hand prosthesis to an intact limb. However, whether the results of prosthesis simulator studies can be translated to people with upper-limb absence using a hand prosthesis is unclear. Objective: To review the literature on prosthetic hand simulators, provide an overview of current designs, and highlight the differences and similarities between prosthesis simulators and traditional prostheses. Methods: A Boolean combination of keywords was used to search 3 electronic databases: PubMed, Scopus and Web of Science. Relevant articles in English were selected. Results: In total, 52 papers were included in the review, and an overview of the state of the art was presented. We identified the key differences between prosthesis simulators and traditional prostheses as the position of the terminal device and the available degrees of freedom of the arm and (prosthetic) wrist. Conclusions: This paper provides an overview of prosthesis simulator designs over the past 27 years and an overview of the similarities and differences between prosthesis simulators and prostheses. The literature does not provide enough evidence to establish whether the results obtained from simulator studies could be translated to prostheses. A recommendation for future simulator design is to constrain pro- and supination of the forearm of anatomically intact participants and add a prosthetic wrist that can pro- and supinate. Additional research is required to find the ideal terminal device position for a prosthesis simulator with respect to the person's hand.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101635
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Bypass prosthesis
  • Hand prostheses
  • Prosthesis simulator
  • Upper limb


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