Biomechatronic Epp Upper Limb Prosthesis

  • Funded by: FP& – Marie Curie
  • In cooperation with: –
  • Period: 2015 – December 2018
  • More Information: Report

Upper limb prostheses have made considerable scientific progress in the last 20 years. This progress though is based on velocity control, which is not the best option for subconscious control. Extended Physiological Proprioception (EPP) provides position control and has been proven to be better as a control methodology for upper-limb prostheses than velocity control. EPP is difficult to implement since it requires: (a) the use of a harness or a post-amputation cineplasty surgical procedure and (b) a direct mechanical linkage (Bowden cable) between the control site and the prosthesis. For the above shortcomings, EPP was abandoned in the later years. We propose a biomechatronics-based master/slave topology which is going to provide an EPP-equivalent control but without the use of a harness, cineplasty, or Bowden cable. The proposed control uses an implanted tendon force and position transducer (TETRA) in series to specific muscles/tendons implanted at the time of amputation, providing an input source for the commanding signal. This signal – conditioned inside the body – is transmitted wirelessly to the Master Motor Controller which will drive the prosthesis proportionally to the commanding signal. Position, velocity and force sensors on the prosthesis will be inputs to the Slave Motor Controller which will provide as output a tactor proprioceptive feedback on the skin of the amputated limb proportional to the position, velocity and force of the prosthesis. 
This output from the tactor is going to be integrated by the skin mechanoreceptors of the skin of the amputee and will provide a proprioceptive feedback status of the prosthesis which will be integrated subconsciously by the human and taken into account at the next commanding signal stemming from the position, velocity and force of the contracted muscletendon complex. This architecture will provide an integrated EPP-equivalent control scheme for upper-limb prosthesis without the disadvantages of previous EPP configurations.