Diabetic patients often experience diminished sensitivity from foot due to distal nerve degeneration, causing them to reduce care in the placing of the foot, which induce ulcers and eventually leads to limb amputation. Because of the lack of sensory feedback, amputees experience falls, perceive the prosthesis as a foreign body and do not rely on it during walking. My hypothesis is that robot integrated with patient’s nervous system will simultaneously: improve the gait quality of lower-limb amputees, improve the acceptance of leg-prostheses, augment robot’s efficiency and reduce costs related to misuse of non-sensorized leg prosthetics. Simultaneously this approach could address neuropathic pain, present in both groups of patients, thus improving quality of life and reducing health-care related costs. Neural pathways between the periphery and the brain are still functional above the damage or the amputation. Targeting these structures with peripheral neural interfaces could allow the restoration of natural sensory functionalities.
Stanisa Raspopovic got the PhD from Scuola Superiore Sant' Anna, and worked the last years as the Senior Scientist at EPFL, Switzerland. His research interest is focused on the computational modelling, effective devices development and human testing, of innovative sensory prosthetics. He achieved a high international recognition for the groundbreaking translational research in sensory restoration in amputee patients, by means of neuroprosthetic intervention, achieving the force and texture recognition restoration. He already won several grants from EU and Switzerland in the role of a project leader. His work is on the border between engineering and medical translation, considering computational modelling signal processing device development animal and human experimentation.