There are almost 5 millions of amputees, and even more nerve-injured persons, only in USA and Europe. Together with commonly present neuropathic pain, and lost limb function (nerve injuries), they have no perception or control of the force required to hold or pick up objects and cannot feel their shape or consistency (when using prostheses). A century after the first prosthesis, electrodes, electronics and surgical expertise can be merged into the life-changing solution.
Our venture is a synergistic effort converging expertise from microtechnologies, algorithms, electronics and clinical experimentation. We are EPFL-based startup, founded by Francesco Petrini, Stanisa Raspopovic and Silvestro Micera.
Our mission is to re-enable upper, lower-limb amputees and nerve-damaged persons by:
- Restoring their complete sensory-motor functionality
- Diminishing phantom limb pain
- Enabling them to feel the artificial limb as part of their own body
From a market viewpoint, the nerve-injured persons do not have effective ways for function restoration, so we are proposing a novel tech and therefore generating new market. As for amputees, the prosthetic limbs are getting more sophisticated but lack sensory feedback. We are constructing the game-changing functional improvement of the technology that will become the essential feature of the next-generation of prosthesis.
Amputees and peripheral nerve damaged persons are in constant increase, mainly due to diabetes, car accidents, work injuries and wars. Among the most disabling consequences of these is the interruption of sensations flow from extremities to the brain. The absence of feedback and the perception of prosthesis as foreign body are the primary reason for refusal to use prosthesis. Amputees cannot feel the shape or material of objects they are holding and have no perception of the force required to hold or pick up objects. Nerve-injured persons often have completely functionally unusable limbs. In 50-80% of cases amputees and nerve-injured experience neuropathic pain from the missing part of the limb and drugs do not provide adequate relief. Providing them with an adequate sensory feedback would solve their problems.
No commercial prostheses provide sensory feedback.
Fundings and projects:
NCCR Spin Fund for 2015
Innogrant for 2015
Wyss Campus Biotech project
Prizes and recognitions:
The Finalists Of The 2014 Innovation By Design Awards, New York, USA