New £1.4 million project to improve artificial arms
A new project to improve the function of artificial limbs has been awarded to Dr Ed Chadwick, of the Rehabilitation Research Group of the Research Institute for Science and Tchnology in Medicine at Keele University. The multi-centre project, led by Newcastle University, with Keele, Leeds, Imperial, Southampton and Essex, has been awarded £1.4 million and arose from a prestigious EPSRC-run workshop on the theme of Assistive, Rehabilitative and Adaptive Technologies, attended by Dr Chadwick.
The aims are to develop technologies to provide sensory feedback to users of prosthetic and other assistive devices. In the case of an upper limb prosthesis, feedback signals relating to touch and proprioception, or the sense of position of the hand, would be delivered to the user by means of electrically stimulating the nerves in the arm. It is hoped that providing this feedback will enhance the user's experience of using an artificial limb and lead to better function.
Keele's role on the project will be to develop a computer model of the hand, or 'virtual hand', to generate the signals that would normally be felt by the missing hand. This work will build on Dr Chadwick's previous work in musculoskeletal modelling, in particular the development of real-time models for use in virtual reality environments https://simtk.org/home/das.
Further details of the project can be found here: The EPSRC release is at http://www.epsrc.ac.uk/newsevents/news/prosthetichands/
and the BBC has an article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-tyne-31593352 and a short video piece: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-31599144.