Transverse Intrafascicular Multichannel Electrode system for induction of sensation and treatment of phantom limb pain in amputees
Abstract: Amputation of a limb is a surgical intervention used as a last resort to remove irreparably damaged, diseased, or congenitally malformed limbs where retention of the limb is a threat to the well-being of the individual. The procedure traumatically alters the body image, but often leaves sensations that refer to the missing body part, the phantom limb. In 50-80% of cases, these sensations are painful and currently, there are no effective treatment modalities. Given sufficient control over a large number of nerve fibres, a neural interface may be able to artificially evoke sensations of touch, or counteract the phantom limb pain. The application of Micro/nano technologies with functional electrical micro stimulation can not only pave the road towards a treatment, but also provide amputees a means to sense virtual environments directly. The ultimate aim of this project is to develop this novel Human Machine Interface (HMI). A novel microfabricated neural interface, the Thin-film Intrafascicular Multichannel Electrode array, and implantable multichannel stimulator system will form the key core technological developments in the project. The work is structured in 10 work packages in three phases. The technological development phase will model, design, manufacture and characterize the multi-channel electrode (TIME) and design, manufacture and test an implantable, multi-channel stimulator. In vivo characterization phase will evaluate the TIME electrodes for biocompatibility, stability and chronic safety in animals and develop a psychophysical test platform for system integration. Finally, pre-clinical evaluation will test the system in short-term implants in amputee subjects. The work will provide direct contribution to the next-generation smart systems in the ICT-2007.3.6 Nano/Micro priority, strengthen Europe’s leading position in advanced electronic systems/biomedical applications, and improve the quality of life for amputees with phantom limb pain.