- The specific scientific and technological objectives of the project are:
- To design and fabricate the mechanical structure of the arm neuroprosthesis with fully articulated fingers and equipped with artificial skin;
- To design and fabricate the command and control system of the neuroprosthesis that will integrate the motion algorithms with the command and sensory signals. The neuroprosthesis will contain sensory structures enabling auto-adaptive adjustment of the mobile elements position and will allow sensory information transmission to the patient’s stump. The sensorial feedback system will re-establish the sensorial function of the amputated arm and will be able to achieve high precision movements when handling objects with the neuroprosthesis
- To design and fabricate a set of regenerative neural bio-interfaces for selecting and stimulating (from ulnar and median nerves) the sensory axons in charge with the transmission of tactile sensations from palm and fingers, before amputation. These bio-interfaces will allow the tactile signals from the fingers and palms of the neuroprosthesis to be transmitted through these sensory axons. In this way the patient will feel tactile feedback sensations when handling objects with neuroprosthesis.
- To mount a fully functional neuroprosthesis on the patient stump, connected to the peripheral nervous system of the patient.
- To deliver the arm neuroprosthesis prototype (implanted in the patient stump and WiFi connected to the prosthesis hand), fully achieving most of lost arm and hand functions. The expectation is minimum 70% recovery of arm and hand functions but the experiment will indicate the exact percentage.
- When one patient is losing his/her hand, the functions and abilities offered by that hand are completely lost. The neuroprosthesis will help him/her to regain most of the initial functions in manoeuvring daily objects in a natural way (by using the nervous paths, motion reflexes and motion abilities that are already known, due to the direct connection of the prosthetic to the patient’s nervous system for the palm and fingers motion commands). The most important functions that will be regained include objects grip, precision pinch (picking up small objects), finger pointing (touch pad, ATM usage), power grip (fully closed grip for picking up cans, light shopping bags), spherical grasp (holding an apple), hook grip (suitcase or duffel bag), palms grasp (reading a book).
The commercial objective of the project is to prototype and to transfer the knowledge of the neuroprosthesis with accessible purchase price for amputees (18000 euro). This price includes the fabrication and material costs; all research and development costs are supported by the current project.