Publication Details

Ngan, C. G. Y., Kapsa, R. M. I. & Choong, P. F. M. (2019). Strategies for neural control of prosthetic limbs: From electrode interfacing to 3D printing. Materials, 12 (12), 1927-1-1927-14.


Limb amputation is a major cause of disability in our community, for which motorised prosthetic devices offer a return to function and independence. With the commercialisation and increasing availability of advanced motorised prosthetic technologies, there is a consumer need and clinical drive for intuitive user control. In this context, rapid additive fabrication/prototyping capacities and biofabrication protocols embrace a highly-personalised medicine doctrine that marries specific patient biology and anatomy to high-end prosthetic design, manufacture and functionality. Commercially-available prosthetic models utilise surface electrodes that are limited by their disconnect between mind and device. As such, alternative strategies of mind-prosthetic interfacing have been explored to purposefully drive the prosthetic limb. This review investigates mind to machine interfacing strategies, with a focus on the biological challenges of long-term harnessing of the user's cerebral commands to drive actuation/movement in electronic prostheses. It covers the limitations of skin, peripheral nerve and brain interfacing electrodes, and in particular the challenges of minimising the foreign-body response, as well as a new strategy of grafting muscle onto residual peripheral nerves. In conjunction, this review also investigates the applicability of additive tissue engineering at the nerve-electrode boundary, which has led to pioneering work in neural regeneration and bioelectrode development for applications at the neuroprosthetic interface.



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