Medical Technology Research

Bild: Junger Mann mit Armprothese Israel and Germany are searching for a new generation of prostheses to give paralysed people, amputees, patients with Parkinson’s disease, and people whose movements are restricted in another way more control over their limbs. METACOMP (Models and Experiments for the Adaptive Control of Motor Prostheses), a research network within the framework of the German-Israeli Project Cooperation (DIP), followed one of the most promising approaches. This completed project was headed by Prof. Eilon Vaadia of the Hebrew University Jerusalem and Prof. Ad Aertsen of the University of Freiburg. METACOMP established the basis for the development of an "intelligent" prosthesis that, via a stable interface, is directly connected to the brain from where it is controlled. Models were designed that, through real-time measurement, could access the brain currents in the motor regions of the cortex. For instance, such models allow an investigation into how the movement of an arm is represented on a neuronal level and can be learned. A correspondingly optimised model could then serve as the core of an adaptive mechanics, which will convert the neuronal activity of the person with the prostheses into directed movements.