A Mechanical / Neural Limb Prosthetic Interface
A two year, $500,000 Phase II STTR Grant from the Small Business Technology Transfer Program of the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke was awarded to Orthogen to demonstrate the feasibility of a skeletally attached interface that can affect both mechanical and electrical control.
There are 1.7 million people living in the US with amputations. Additionally, 135,000 amputations are performed every year in the US requiring the use of prosthetic devices. With current devices, the patient is unable to mechanically and electrically control the prosthetic to mimic normal function. When nerves are severed or disrupted, the information for control is still present. A better, more natural control of the prosthesis can be achieved if that information can be used to operate a prosthesis. To date, no stable, reliable interface between the electronics of the prosthesis and the nervous system exists. Additionally, soft tissue, press-fit attachment to the stump is less than ideal. Skeletal attachment of the device greatly facilitates mechanical control and utility. A peripheral nerve interface was developed by Orthogen in which slips of muscle were isolated from a host muscle in the environment of a recording electrode. A combined transcutaneous port/skeletal attachment device was developed with surface microtexturing that allows a stable connection of skin, connective tissues and bone to its surface. The results of these studies were very promising. However, since Orthogen primarily plans to focus on developing novel synthetic bone grafts, the company is searching for partners who will be interested in sub-licensing this technology and apply it to their current prosthetic designs.