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European Researchers Aim to Advance Robotic Limbs

The core of the system is the osseointegrated human-machine gateway (OHMG), a bone-anchoring technique developed at Göteborgs Universitet, which is able to create bidirectional links between the user and the robotic prosthesis. Image courtesy of DeTOP.

The DeTOP (Dexterous Transradial Osseointegrated Prosthesis with neural control and sensory feedback) research project is a European collaborative effort that aims to develop upper-limb prostheses that can reproduce natural hand functions and facilitate the recovery of patient tactic perceptions. It is funded under the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation and coordinated by the BioRobotics Institute at Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna (SSSA), Pisa, Italy. Other partners include Göteborgs Universitet, Gothenburg, Sweden; Lund Universitet, Sweden; the University of Essex, Colchester, England; Prensilia, Pontedera, Italy; Integrum AB, Gothenburg; and the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnologies, Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

The key objective of DeTOP is to translate, exploit, and appraise already proven technology for transhumeral amputations to transradial amputations, which occur more commonly. There are eight main scientific and/or technological objectives to be tackled:

  • Osseointegrated human-machine gateway for transradial amputation
  • Mechatronic coupling for safe wrist rotation
  • Dexterous hand-wrist prosthesis with tactile sensors and shared control
  • Physiological proportional myocontrol
  • Neural feedback for close-to-natural tactile sensations
  • Miniature processing and communication nodes for control and sensory feedback
  • Surgical procedures, instruments, and implantations of the osseointegrated human-machine gateway for transradial amputation
  • Assessment of prosthesis function

“DeTOP is an important project that can open new scenarios for the future of robotic prostheses,” said Christian Cipriani, PhD, associate professor, BioRobotics Institute, SSSA. “This system allows to check the osseointegrated treatment on transradial amputees. The prosthesis has high autonomy of movement and, for the first time in scientific research, allows us to test an intramuscular control and, in parallel, to study aspects of sensory feedback.”

The new transradial prosthesis will be trialed by three patients who will be closely monitored in a clinical facility. The project partners will also constantly monitor the results. The overall aim of DeTOP is to make the technology clinically accessible.

Editor’s note: This story was adapted from materials provided by the DeTOP project.