Neural Control of Prostheses
Integrum has developed new breakthrough technology in collaboration with Chalmers University of Technology and Sahlgrenska University Hospital to directly connect bionic prostheses to the patient’s bone, nerves, and muscles. For the first time, robotic prostheses controlled via implanted neuromuscular interfaces have become a clinical reality thanks to Integrum’s osseointegrated technology. This technology is under continue development and currently in an ongoing clinical trial.
First neurally controlled robotic arm that works in daily life
In January 2013, Dr Rickard Brånemark led the world’s first surgery where neuromuscular electrodes were permanently implanted in an amputee. A Swedish man become the first person to receive a prosthesis with a direct connection to bone, nerves and muscles. This represented a true game changer and a critical step toward a more natural limb replacement.
Three years after the surgery, tests show that electrodes provide a more precise and reliable control than surface electrodes, regardless of limb position and environmental conditions, and with less effort. Furthermore, long-term stable myoelectric pattern recognition and appropriate sensory feedback elicited via neurostimulation have been demonstrated.
The ultimate goal is to make a more natural way to replace a lost limb – to improve the quality of life for people with amputations.
The next generation Robotic arm
Conventional robotic prostheses available today are attached with a socket and controlled via electrodes placed on the skin. Robotic prostheses can be very advanced, but such a control system makes them unreliable and limits their functionality, and patients commonly reject them as a result. By connecting the prosthesis directly to bone, nerves and muscles, the Integrum robotic system can provide a significantly improved user experience
- Unrestricted range of motion
- Precise and reliable prosthetic control
- Direct and intuitive neural sensory feedback
- Stable mechanical attachment
- Reduced phantom limb pain
Magnus - A man who made history
Magnus, 42 years old from Haparanda in Northern Sweden, was the first person to receive a prosthesis with a direct connection to bone, nerves and muscles. Thanks to his new robotic arm, Magnus has been able to cope with all the situations he faces in his physically demanding job driving trailers in between Sweden, Norway and Finland.
Read more about Magnus astonishing history:
How does it work?
The technology is built around the Integrum OPRA Implant System and has been developed in close collaboration with Chalmers University of Technology and Sahlgrenska University Hospital. The artificial arm is directly attached to the skeleton, thus providing mechanical stability. Then the human’s biological control system, that is nerves and muscles, is also interfaced to the machine’s control system via neuromuscular electrodes. This creates an intimate union between the body and the machine; between biology and mechatronics.
(A) The prosthetic limb is attached to the abutment, which transferred the load to the bone via the osseointegrated fixture. The abutment screw, which goes through the abutment to the fixture, is designed to maintain the abutment in place. A parallel connector (1) is embedded in the screw’s distal end to electrically interface the artificial limb. This connector is electrically linked to a second feedthrough connector (2) embedded in the screw’s proximal end. The stack connector (2) interfaced with a pin connector extending from the central sealing component (3), from which leads extended intramedullary and then transcortically to a final connector (4) located in the soft tissue. The leads from the neuromuscular electrodes (“e.”) are mated to connector (4).
(B) Placement of epimysial and cuff electrodes in the right upper arm.