SOMA “Ultrasound peripheral interface and in-vitro model of human somatosensory system and muscles for motor decoding and restoration of somatic sensations in amputees” 

Project objectives

The SOMA project has the ambition to importantly advance the field of upper-limb prostheses by investigating Ultra Sound solution as a completely novel low-invasive bidirectional peripheral interface that: i) is alternative to current neuroelectronic devices to deliver close-to-natural somatic sensations in amputees, while guaranteeing selectivity of sensory fibers and spatial discrimination of hand areas and ii) outperforms current EMG interfaces in decoding motor intentions. The newly conceived bidirectional US interface has the ambition to find the best trade-off solution between invasiveness, selectivity and spatial discrimination for peripheral stimulation, and between invasiveness, robustness and temporal resolution for muscular activity recording.

Furthermore, SOMA will profoundly improve the knowledge of the sensory afferent pathway providing for the first time an in-vitro model that replicates the behaviour of the human somatosensory system and muscles, with the specific aims to: i) investigate the spatio-temporal neural mechanisms underneath mechanoreception nociception and thermoreception; ii) identify new encoding strategies to naturally restore such somatic sensations; iii) design, optimize and robustly validate bidirectional peripheral interfaces before in-vivo studies.

Start/End Date

1 settembre 2020 - 31 agosto 2024

Principal Investigator

PI: Prof. Loredana Zollo

Clinical activities responsability

Prof. Vincenzo Denaro, Prof. Vincenzo Di Lazzaro, Prof. Giovanni Di Pino, Prof. Silvia Sterzi

Host institution

Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome

Other Institutions involved

- FRAUNHOFER GESELLSCHAFT ZUR FOERDERUNG DER ANGEWANDTEN FORSCHUNG E.V. (DE)

- UNIVERSITA DEGLI STUDI DI NAPOLI FEDERICO II (IT)

- IMPERIAL COLLEGE OF SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY AND MEDICINE (UK)

- UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON (UK)

- UNIVERSITAT AUTONOMA DE BARCELONA (ES)

- ÖSSUR (IS)

Source of funding

European Commission (Call: H2020-FETOPEN-2018-2019-2020-01)