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Neural control of hand prostheses in amputees using intraneural electrodes

The development of more effective approaches to control dexterous hand prostheses is an important area of research that is currently addressed by several research groups to improve the quality of life of amputees, in the attempt of establishing a fast, intuitive, bidirectional flow of information between the nervous system of the user and the smart artificial device. Among the possible solutions to achieve this goal, interfaces with the peripheral nervous system and in particular intraneural electrodes can represent an interesting choice. In this presentation, two main research activities on this topic will be presented. First, the recent results achieved after the implantation of thin-film intra-fascicular electrodes in the median and ulnar nerves of an amputee will be shown. The possibility of decoding motor commands suitable to control a dexterous hand prosthesis has been investigated during a 4 week trial. The results showed that the extraction of motor information (i.e., grip types) is possible with good performance and that the user was able to significantly improve his ability to provide useful motor commands over time. Secondly, the current activities about the development of more effective intraneural electrodes will be presented. In particular, a novel generation of PNS interfaces able to actuate the different contact sites and the results of FEM/biophysical simulations to improve selectivity will be shown. These new approaches will increase the performance of this approach in the next future and open up very promising possibilities for the development of a neurocontrolled hand prosthesis.

Type of Seminar:
Public Seminar
Silvestro Micera
Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa and ETH Zürich
Aug 27, 2010   11.15 a.m.

ETZ E6, Gloriastrasse 35
Contact Person:

Klaas Pruessmann
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Biographical Sketch:
Silvestro Micera received the University degree (Laurea) in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy, in 1996 and the Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Engineering from Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, in 2000. From 2000 to 2009 he has been an Assistant Professor of BioRobotics at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna where he is now the Head of the Neural Interface Group. From 2008 he is currently the Head of the Neuroprosthesis Control group and Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Institute for Automation, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, CH. In 2009, he was the recipient of the Early Career Achievement Award of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. His research interests include the development of hybrid neuroprosthetic for the restoration and assessment of sensory-motor function in disabled persons. Dr. Micera is currently serving as Associate Editor for several journals on Biomedical and Neural Engineering.