In the interview with MEDICA-tradefair.com Professor Gernot Müller-Putz talks about the neuroprosthesis and the status of the study.
Professor Gernot Müller-Putz, to whom is MoreGrasp addressed?
Prof. Gernot Müller-Putz: The neuroprosthesis is aimed at people with high paraplegia who have suffered a loss of gripping function but can still move their elbows. For example, so that they can eat alone again in everyday life, they need a prosthesis that makes this function possible again.
How does the neuroprosthesis work?
Müller-Putz: The neuroprosthesis works with the help of functional electrostimulation. For this purpose, electrodes are attached to certain regions of the forearm. We use a brain-computer interface (BCI) to ensure that the current impulses are sent to the electrodes at the right time. The BCI uses an EEG to measure the brain waves and observes the exact pattern responsible for the gripping function. When the wearer of the neuroprosthesis thinks of grasping, the BCI sends a signal to the stimulator and on to the electrodes. The electrodes then generate electrical impulses to the correct muscle groups and cause them to contract. By specifically applying different muscle groups, a movement of different fingers can be realized and thus also the grasping.
What makes MoreGrasp unique?
Müller-Putz: MoreGrasp is based on a long cooperation between the University Hospital of Heidelberg and the Technical University of Graz. We have been trying to get such a system up and running since the two-thousanders. This time we have been provided with considerable financial resources and were thus able to take a novel step in brain-computer interfacing in terms of grasping. At first we tried to reach different parts of the body with a control signal, but in this project we only focused on the function of gripping. This enabled us to refine the gripping neuroprosthesis so that the movements are even more precise. In order to be able to move the forearm without the electrodes giving impulses in the wrong places, we integrated rotation compensation. This consists of a series of electrodes and recognizes in which direction the skin moves. In this way, muscle contraction can always be caused in the right places. ...
Read the complete interview at MEDICA-tradefair.com!