Brain-machine interface set to improve life for amputees

Posted by

A newly designed brain-machine interface dramatically improves performance and reduces mental and physical stress for people with a leg amputated above the knee.

A proof-of-concept study involving two amputees, published in the journal Nature Medicine, found that a prosthetic that incorporates pressure and motion sensors in the foot and knee joint, connected to four electrodes implanted in the tibial nerve, significantly improved performance in both laboratory and real-world settings.

The addition of the sensors and their direct input into the nervous system overcomes the most significant problem involved in movement for above-the-knee amputees: lack of neurological feedback.

Existing prosthetics which incorporate knee and ankle joints satisfactorily approximate “natural” leg movement, but fail to convey complex information about pressure, angle and position. This means that users frequently have to check and consciously adjust how the artificial leg is performing, a process that generates considerable mental and muscular fatigue.

To alleviate this problem, researchers led by Francesco Maria Petrini from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology recruited two volunteers. In each they implanted four multichannel electrodes into what was left of their tibial nerves.



FiveWordsForTheFuture - Sep 21, 2019 | Biorobotics, Health, Medicine, Robotics
Tagged | , , ,