Ultrasound peripheral interface and in-vitro model of human somatosensory system and muscles for motor decoding and restoration of somatic sensations in amputees
As an alternative to current neuroelectronic devices, the SOMA project has the ambition to importantly advance the field of bidirectional interfaces with the Peripheral Nervous System to deliver close-to-natural somatic sensations in amputees, while guaranteeing selectivity of sensory fibers and spatial discrimination of hand areas. The newly conceived bidirectional US interface outperforms EMG interfaces in decoding motor intentions, thus providing robustness and temporal resolution for muscular activity recording.
Furthermore, SOMA will profoundly improve the knowledge of the sensory afferent pathway providing for the first time an in-vitro model that replicates the behaviour of the human somatosensory system and muscles. This will grant the possibility to investigate the spatio-temporal neural mechanisms underneath mechanoreception nociception and thermoreception, eventually identifing new encoding strategies to naturally restore such somatic sensations.