Development of an upper limb bionic prosthesis with customizable interface and sensory feedback for macro-lesion patient with amputation due to car accident

Project objectives

The project aims to develop an upper limb prosthetic system with innovative non-invasive interfaces for the intuitive control of prosthesis and a tactile sensory feedback as natural as possible. The main aim is to allow the patient to think the grasping movement, implement it through the prosthesis and modify it thanks to perception of the grasped object elicited by the stimulation.

Two non-invasive stimulation techniques with different complexity will be studied. The first one, already established, is the transcutaneous electrical stimulation of the peripheral neural system (TENS), while the second, more innovative, is the focused ultrasound stimulation of the central nervous system (FUS).

An extensive study of the bidirectional control of the prosthesis base on TENS stimulation will be carried out while a feasibility study of the FUS will be conducted since the latter is a new technique and only preliminarily tested on healthy subjects.

In particular, a modular prosthetic system with non-invasive and personalized interfaces based on the user residual capabilities will be developed.

The functions of the current prostheses will be improved through the development of both a sensorized prosthetic hand with force sensors and a force-and-position able to ensure a stable grasp.

A sensory feedback system will be implemented to restore tactile and force sensations and to allow the user's inclusion in the grasp and manipulation control.

The effectiveness, functionality and acceptability of the developed prosthetic system will be evaluated in daily livings activities.

A study on 10 healthy subjects and at least 5 macro-lesion subjects with amputation will be carried out using TENS stimulation. FUS stimulation will be tested on healthy subjects and, possibly, on a macro-lesion subject with amputation.

The possibility to provide selective and distinguishable tactile sensations such as touch, pressure and consistency of the object will be evaluated with both stimulation methods.

Motor skills and functional abilities of the patients wearing the prosthesis will be evaluated during activities of daily leaving as well as the users' satisfaction in using the prosthesis.

Start/End Date

September 2018 - september 2020

Principal Investigator

Prof. Loredana Zollo, Associate Professor and Manager of Research Unit of Biomedical Robotics and Biomicrosystem

Host institution

Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome

Source of funding

Fondazione ANIA