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 Building the first Prosthetic, Sensory Finger

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Date posted: 01/01/2007

The European Union has earmarked three million Euros for a project called NanoBioTact, due to start early this year. This cross-discipline group from both academic and industrial backgrounds is dedicated to creating a 'biomimetic finger. A finger which is capable of full touch sensation feedback to the nervous system.

The co-ordinator of NanoBioTact, Mike Adams of Birmingham University, said the project aims to stand on the shoulders of previous research on integrating signals from synthetic sensors with the nervous system.

'There are quite significant developments in attaching prosthetic limbs to the body and in connecting up this sort of information directly to nerve endings,' he said. 'But current prostheses are equipped with relatively crude force transducers, derived from robotics; they're designed to help you pick up a polystyrene coffee cup without spilling it. What they're not designed for is tactile sensing.' Signal processing will be the project's biggest challenge.

The team will aim to develop a range of nanoscale Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS)-type sensors that will mimic the spatial resolution, sensitivity and dynamics of human tactile neural sensors.

To achieve this will require the scientific understanding of the mechanoreceptors found in humans and the neural coding of the many thousands of actions discharged during a tactile experience.

The project partners aim to deliver the biomimetic finger by 2010, at the end of a three-year project.

See the full Story via external site: cordis.europa.eu

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