Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The quest for a better bionic hand: Implantable interfaces connect a hand prosthesis to the nerves

Date:
February 17, 2013
Source:
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Summary:
New implantable interfaces connect a hand prosthesis to the nerves, making for smarter prosthetics that feel and function more like the real thing.

New implantable interfaces connect a hand prosthesis to the nerves, making for smarter prosthetics that feel and function more like the real thing.
Credit: Copyright LIFEHAND consortium

For an amputee, replacing a missing limb with a functional prosthetic can alleviate physical or emotional distress and mean a return of vocational ability or cosmetics. Studies show, however, that up to 50 percent of hand amputees still do not use their prosthesis regularly due to less than ideal functionality, appearance, and controllability.

But Silvestro Micera, of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland, is paving the way for new, smart prosthetics that connect directly to the nervous system. The benefits are more versatile prosthet- ics with intuitive motor control and realistic sensory feedback -- in essence, they could one day return dexterity and the sensation of touch to an amputee.

At the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Boston, Micera reports the results of previous work conducting a four-week clinical trial that improved sensory feed- back in amputees by using intraneural electrodes implanted into the median and ulnar nerves. This interface holds great promise because of its ability to create an intimate and natural connection with the nerves, and because it is less invasive than other methods. It also provides fast, intuitive, bidirectional flow of informa- tion between the nervous system and the prosthetic, resulting in a more realistic experience and ultimately improved function.

"We could be on the cusp of providing new and more effective clinical solutions to amputees in the next years," says Micera, who is Head of the Translational Neural Engineering Laboratory at EPFL and Professor at the Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna in Italy.

Micera and colleagues tested their system by implanting intraneural electrodes into the nerves of an amputee. The electrodes stimulated the sensory peripheral system, delivering different types of touch feelings. Then the researchers analyzed the motor neural signals recorded from the nerves and showed that information related to grasping could indeed be extracted. That information was then used to control a hand prosthesis placed near the subject but not physically attached to the arm of the amputee.

At AAAS in Boston, Micera also describes his recent activities to improve the efficacy of this approach and an- nounces a new clinical trial starting soon as part of the Italian Ministry of Health's NEMESIS project, under the clinical supervision of Prof. Paolo M. Rossini. This new trial carries this research a step further by connecting the prosthetic hand directly to the patient for the first real-time, bidirectional control using peripheral neural signals. Though results are not yet available, the researchers hope to find still further improvement in the sen- sory feedback and overall control of the prosthetics with this new method.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. "The quest for a better bionic hand: Implantable interfaces connect a hand prosthesis to the nerves." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130217134208.htm>.
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. (2013, February 17). The quest for a better bionic hand: Implantable interfaces connect a hand prosthesis to the nerves. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130217134208.htm
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. "The quest for a better bionic hand: Implantable interfaces connect a hand prosthesis to the nerves." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130217134208.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

First-Of-Its-Kind Treatment Gives Man Ability To Walk Again

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) — A medical team has for the first time given a man the ability to walk again after transplanting cells from his brain onto his severed spinal cord. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Portable Breathalyzer Gets You Home Safely

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) — Breeze, a portable breathalyzer, gets you home safely by instantly showing your blood alcohol content, and with one tap, lets you call an Uber, a cab or a friend from your contact list to pick you up. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Movies Might Desensitize Violence For Parents, Not Just Kids

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — A study suggests that parents become desensitized to violent movies as well as children, which leads them to allow their kids to view violent films. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins