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Elife. 2016 Mar 8;5:e09148. doi: 10.7554/eLife.09148.

Intraneural stimulation elicits discrimination of textural features by artificial fingertip in intact and amputee humans.

Author information

1
The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa, Italy.
2
Bertarelli Foundation Chair in Translational NeuroEngineering, Institute of Bioengineering, School of Engineering, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.
3
Center for Neuroprosthetics, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.
4
Laboratory of Biomedical Robotics & Biomicrosystems, Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, Roma, Italy.
5
Brain Connectivity Laboratory, IRCCS San Raffaele Pisana, Roma, Italy.
6
Institute of Neurology, Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma, Roma, Italy.
7
Institute of Neurology, Catholic University of The Sacred Heart, Roma, Italy.
8
Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Pisana, Pisa, Italy.
9
IRCCS Stella Maris Foundation, Pisa, Italy.
10
Dipartimento di Ricerca Traslazionale e delle Nuove Tecnologie in Medicina e Chirurgia, Università di Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

Abstract

Restoration of touch after hand amputation is a desirable feature of ideal prostheses. Here, we show that texture discrimination can be artificially provided in human subjects by implementing a neuromorphic real-time mechano-neuro-transduction (MNT), which emulates to some extent the firing dynamics of SA1 cutaneous afferents. The MNT process was used to modulate the temporal pattern of electrical spikes delivered to the human median nerve via percutaneous microstimulation in four intact subjects and via implanted intrafascicular stimulation in one transradial amputee. Both approaches allowed the subjects to reliably discriminate spatial coarseness of surfaces as confirmed also by a hybrid neural model of the median nerve. Moreover, MNT-evoked EEG activity showed physiologically plausible responses that were superimposable in time and topography to the ones elicited by a natural mechanical tactile stimulation. These findings can open up novel opportunities for sensory restoration in the next generation of neuro-prosthetic hands.

KEYWORDS:

artificial touch; hand neuroprosthetics; human; intraneural stimulation; neuromorphic stimuli; neuroscience; tactile code; touch restoration

PMID:
26952132
PMCID:
PMC4798967
DOI:
10.7554/eLife.09148
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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