The goal of this project is to develop technologies that will enable the next generation of assistive devices to provide truly natural control through enhanced sensory feedback. Our long-term vision is for artificial arms that provide the user with a sense of feedback that recreates the natural feedback associated with a real arm.
To enable this level of feedback, we must meet two clear objectives: to generate artificial signals that mimic those of the natural arm and hand, and to provide a means of delivering those signals to the nervous system of a prosthesis user.
These objectives will be achieved by: building new fingertip sensors to give the prosthesis a realistic sense of touch, including pressure, shear and temperature; developing a ‘virtual hand’ that mimics the nerve impulses that would be produced by a real hand, giving the user a sense of position of an artificial hand; and designing electrodes and a stimulation system that can deliver the simulated nerve impulses directly to the individual’s nervous system.
Integrating this level of naturalistic feedback into prosthetic devices will enable much higher levels of function to be achieved than is currently possible. This will advance the field of prosthetics, provide enhanced function to prosthesis users and decrease the learning time involved when acquiring a new device.
Project full title: Enabling Technologies for Sensory Feedback in Next-Generation Assistive Devices
Project acronym: SenseBack
Start date: 16.04.2014
Duration: 36 months
Funding scheme: IDEAS Factory Sandpits
Reference number: EP/M025977/1