While great strides have been made in the last decade in improving the function of upper limb neuroprostheses, a large number of people with upper limb amputations abandon their prostheses. Research has primarily focused on improving motor control strategies in order to make control of neuroprostheses more intuitive and efficient. One such technique that has found success in recent years is targeted muscle reinnvervation, where residual upper limb motor nerves post-amputation are transferred to intact muscle tissue. When a patient thinks of moving his missing limb, the reinnervated muscles activate, and electromyography coupled with pattern recognition algorithms can be used to determine the patient’s intended arm movement. Although this technique makes prosthesis control more intuitive, it only allows for sequential control of single degree of freedom movements. I will discuss our recent efforts in simultaneously estimating multiple joint angles (elbow flexion/extension and forearm rotation) during reaching for patients with above-elbow amputations. The second half of the talk will focus on the incorporation of sensory feedback in prostheses. The lack of proprioceptive and touch feedback are two major issues that result in prosthesis abandonment. I will discuss our strategies for using electrotactile stimulation to provide sensory feedback to patients.
About the Speaker
Aadeel Akhtar is an MD/PhD student in the Neuroscience program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, advised by Professor Tim Bretl. Aadeel received his BS in Biology, double-minoring in Neuroscience and Computer Science at Loyola University Chicago in 2007. He went on to receive an MS in Computer Science at Loyola the following year. From 2008-2010, Aadeel taught Computer Science courses at Loyola as an adjunct faculty member and also worked as a research technician on computer-aided diagnosis of breast cancer at the University of Chicago. He is currently also a member of the NSF IGERT in Neuroengineering at Illinois. His research interests are in neuroprosthetics, brain-machine interfaces, machine learning, and robotics, and he has active research collaborations with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and the John Rogers Research Group at Illinois.
* Check http://mechanical.illinois.edu for updated information. This seminar counts toward the requirements for ME 591 BIG.