Today during the 81st American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) Annual Scientific Meeting, researchers presented impressive findings detailing how the use of brain-machine interfaces (BMI) and robotic prosthetic arms may help those suffering from upper-limb paralysis or amputation regain the ability to grasp and manipulate objects, and more actively interact with their environment to complete regular daily tasks.
Researchers implanted two 96-channel intracortical microelectrodes into the motor cortex of an individual with tetraplegia using multi-modality image guidance. Six months of BMI training were conducted with the goal being for the subject to control an anthropomorphic prosthetic limb with 10 degrees-of-freedom (3D translation, 3D orientation and 4D hand posture). Clinical measures of upper-limb function were used to assess the participant subject's ability to use the prosthetic limb. The results of this study, 10 degree-of-freedom neuroprosthetic control by an individual with tetraplegia, will be presented by Elizabeth C. Tyler-Kabara, MD, PhD, FAANS, on Tuesday, April 30. Co-authors are Jennifer Collinger, PhD; Brian Wodlinger, PhD; John Downey, BS; Wei Wang, PhD; Douglas Weber, PhD; Angus McMorland, PhD; Meel Velliste, PhD; Michael Boninger, MD; and Andrew Schwartz, PhD.
The subject in this study demonstrated the ability to move the prosthetic device freely in the three-dimensional (3D) workspace after just two days of training. Following 13 weeks of training and interaction, 7 degree-of-freedom movements were regularly performed, including 3D translation, 3D orientation and one-dimensional grasping. The researchers noted that performance of target-based reaching tasks improved over time in terms of success rate, completion time and path efficiency.
After six months, the subject exercised robust 10 degree-of freedom movements routinely in 3D translation, 3D orientation and fourth-dimension hand posture. The participant in the study also could use the prosthetic limb to perform a variety of skillful and coordinated reach and grasp movements, which resulted in in clinically significant gains in tests of upper-limb function. Researchers concluded that this study suggests that a person with chronic tetraplegia can perform consistent, natural, complex movements with an anthropomorphic robotic arm to regain clinically significant limb function.
Materials provided by American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS). Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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