A critical review of interfaces with the peripheral nervous system for the control of neuroprostheses and hybrid bionic systems

Authors

  • Xavier Navarro,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Cell Biology, Physiology and Immunology, and Institute of Neurosciences, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Bellaterra;
    2. Institut Guttmann, Badalona, Spain;
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  • Thilo B. Krueger,

    1. Department of Medical Engineering and Neural Prostheses, Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering (IBMT), St. Ingbert;
    2. Laboratory for Biomedical Microsystems, Institute for Microsystem Technology (IMTEK), University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany; and
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  • Natalia Lago,

    1. Department of Cell Biology, Physiology and Immunology, and Institute of Neurosciences, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), Bellaterra;
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  • Silvestro Micera,

    1. ARTS Laboratory, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (SSSA), Pisa, Italy
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  • Thomas Stieglitz,

    1. Laboratory for Biomedical Microsystems, Institute for Microsystem Technology (IMTEK), University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany; and
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  • Paolo Dario

    1. ARTS Laboratory, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (SSSA), Pisa, Italy
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*Dr. Xavier Navarro, Faculty of Medicine, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, E08193 Bellaterra, Spain. Tel: +34-935811966; E-mail: xavier.navarro@uab.es

Abstract

Abstract  Considerable scientific and technological efforts have been devoted to develop neuroprostheses and hybrid bionic systems that link the human nervous system with electronic or robotic prostheses, with the main aim of restoring motor and sensory functions in disabled patients. A number of neuroprostheses use interfaces with peripheral nerves or muscles for neuromuscular stimulation and signal recording. Herein, we provide a critical overview of the peripheral interfaces available and trace their use from research to clinical application in controlling artificial and robotic prostheses. The first section reviews the different types of non-invasive and invasive electrodes, which include surface and muscular electrodes that can record EMG signals from and stimulate the underlying or implanted muscles. Extraneural electrodes, such as cuff and epineurial electrodes, provide simultaneous interface with many axons in the nerve, whereas intrafascicular, penetrating, and regenerative electrodes may contact small groups of axons within a nerve fascicle. Biological, technological, and material science issues are also reviewed relative to the problems of electrode design and tissue injury. The last section reviews different strategies for the use of information recorded from peripheral interfaces and the current state of control neuroprostheses and hybrid bionic systems.

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