$3.4 million grant to support development of brain-controlled prosthetic limbs

A team of researchers at the University of Chicago has received a $3.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The funding will help the team develop robotic arms patients can control with their minds that receive sensory feedback from attached prosthetic hands.

The new grant is part of a combined $7 million awarded to UChicago, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to continue their collaboration developing prosthetics with a brain-computer interface for paralyzed patients. In 2016, the team demonstrated how a clinical trial participant was able to control a robotic arm with his mind and regain the sense of touch through its hand.

The new grant will expand the clinical trial to UChicago, where the project will be led by Assoc. Prof. Sliman Bensmaia, who studies the sense of touch, and Prof. Nicholas Hatsopoulos, who researches how the brain directs movement in the limbs.