Project Details


DESCRIPTION (Adapted from the applicant's abstract): Congenital upper limb reduction deficits (i.e. missing hands) afflict an estimated 1 of every 3000 children in the US and many thousands of children and adults lose their upper limbs by amputation. The goal of this work is to restore a dextrous hand to those patients lacking it. Current upper limb prostheses can only restore simple movements, either with a split hook or various types of artificial hands. The proposed project will develop a novel hand controller based on transduction of volitional muscle and tendon movements in the residual limb with tendon-actuated pneumatic (TAP). The system will utilize pressure-sensitive foam to measure pressure changes resulting from activation of muscle/tendon of the residual limb. Signals from an array of these sensors will be processed to determine the desired movement of digits. Preliminary results from tests on a wrist disarticulation amputee indicate that suitable signals can be recorded and detected. Phase I of this project aims to reliably detect movement of individual forearm tendons produced by intended movement of phantom fingers and to provide multi-finger virtual typing capability for patients with missing or non-functional hands. Use of the TAP hand by children with ULRD could restore a greater dexterity than that which is offered by present prostheses and may foster anatomical and functional development of nerves, muscles and tendons that could operate advanced prostheses of the future. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATION: The new prosthesis advances the state-of-the-art, and is expected to be commercially available by 2000. there are thousands of individuals in the U.S. and throughout the world who could benefit from a dexterous hand, in order to perform their jobs, or use a keyboard. The prosthesis can be marketed through traditional health practitioners such as physical therapists, prosthetists, and physiatrists.
Effective start/end date6/1/989/30/99


  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development


  • Signal Processing
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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