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Neuroprosthetics and Solutions for Spinal Cord Dysfunctions

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Technical Report,01 Jan 2008,31 Jul 2012

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University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh United States

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This project is focused on the development of a radically new class of prosthetic devices that will mimic more closely the full range of sensory and motor capabilities of natural limbs. To this end, we have made significant progress on four integrated projects to advance the development of neuroprosthetic limbs including 1 creation of a sensory neural interface to provide amputees with tactile and kinesthetic feedback from their prosthetic limb, 2 improving the biocompatibility of implanted neural interface electrodes, 3 development of a virtual reality training and testing system for neuroprosthetic limbs, and 4 development of prosthetic hardware testing equipment and procedures.To date, we have completed experiments to characterize the organization of sensory neurons in the DRG for the creation of a sensory feedback neural interface and evaluated the brains response to sensory stimulation. We have also completed experiments to evaluate histologically the tissue response to electrodes implanted chronically in DRG, dorsal roots, and spinal cord. We have designed and developed a virtual reality training system based on custom software developed in-house for training amputees to operate myoelectric and neurally controlled prosthetic limbs. Finally, we have developed a test jig to determine compliance with ISO standards for prosthetic hardware, and we have begun testing prosthetic feet.

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