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  • New BRAIN Grants Will Fund Research on Neural Interfaces for Prosthetics

    President Barack Obama's BRAIN initiative, housed at the National Institutes of Health, will focus some of its resources on grants to researchers working on ways to create better interfaces for individuals with prosthetics to sense touch and movement.

    According to an NIH news release, 3 groups of researchers will receive funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as part of DARPA's Hand Proprioception and Touch Interfaces program aimed at developing better neutrally linked prosthetics. Obama's BRAIN initiative opened the possibility of collaboration between the researchers, previously supported by NIH, and DARPA.

    The 3 NIH-supported research projects now receiving the DARPA grants are focused on a wireless device that can be implanted directly into muscles to control prostheses rather than through electrodes placed on the skin; a tiny bundle of microelectrodes implanted in peripheral nerves to control muscle movement; and an electrode nerve cuff that allows the user of a prosthesis to experience pressure sensation. The nerve cuff technology was featured in a PT in Motion News story published in October 2014.

    A complete list of all BRAIN initiative awards made to date, and notice of new funding opportunities, are available at the initiative website.

    Comments

    • This is exciting. I saw on a news channel a few years ago about the original electronic prosthesis for a man's hand. Now that NIH and DARPA are working to add in sensory input is incredible. I am interested to see what new doors this will open up for the physical therapy world. My question is how much will a prosthesis with this capability cost the average patient?

      Posted by Aaron on 2/16/2015 9:33 PM

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