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Implantable neuroprostheses to improve quality of life of disabled people

9 May 2017
San Francesco - Via della Quarquonia 1 (Classroom 1 )
Neuroengineering is a novel discipline combining engineering including micro and nanotechnology, electrical and mechanical, and computer science with cellular, molecular, cognitive neuroscience with two main goals: (i) increase our basic knowledge of how the nervous system works; (ii) develop systems able to restore functions in people affected by different types of neural disability. In the past years, several breakthroughs have been reached by neuroengineers in particular on the development of neurotechnologies able to restore sensorimotor functions in disabled people. In this presentation, two main research activities on this topic carried out by my laboratory in the past years will be presented. First, the recent results achieved after the implantation of intraneural electrodes in an amputee will be presented. We showed that using this approach it is possible to restore the bidirectional connection between a dexterous hand prosthesis and the nervous system. The user was also able to improve his ability to provide useful motor commands over time. Then, I will show the results achieved to restore locomotion using epidural electrical stimulation combining models, closed-loop control algorithms in experiments after spinal cord injury in animal models.
Micera, Silvestro