Research Topics

Intracortical Visual Prosthesis (ICVP)

ICVP overview

The goal of this project is to develop an intracortical visual prosthesis that will compensate for blindness by stimulating the visual centers of the brain. This has the potential to be useful for a large fraction of the population with blindness because its brain-based approach does not require an intact optic nerve or retina.

Our approach for the ICVP consists of multiple stimulation modules implanted into the brain’s occipital lobe. These modules each contain an array of 16 electrodes that transmit information to the brain and are wirelessly controlled and powered by a transmitter placed outside of the head.

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Peripheral Nerve Interface Device (PNID)

PNI Overview

PNID overview

We are developing technology that will enable chronic stimulation and recording of peripheral nerves throughout the body. Devices based on this technology may eventually be used to gather motor signals for controlling prosthetic limbs, input sensory feedback from prosthetics directly into the nervous system, and treat chronic conditions through neuromodulation.

Intraspinal Microstimulation (ISMS)

Proposed ISMS interface

A multi-institutional team consisting of Illinois Institute of Technology, the University of Alberta and the University of Chicago is developing a wireless intraspinal microstimulation (ISMS) system as a means of restoring standing and walking for individuals with spinal cord injury. ISMS, a technique pioneered at the University of Alberta, is characterized by reduced fatigue when compared to other modes of functional electrical stimulation, making it an attractive candidate for restoring motor function.

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Intramuscular Electrode Sensor (IMES)

IMES components

IMES device components

A multi-institutional team consisting of IIT, Northwestern University, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, the Alfred Mann Foundation (AMF), the University of Colorado, and Sigenics, Inc. have developed a prosthesis control system that consists of multiple implanted single-channel sensors which provide control signals for artificial limbs.

EMG signals generated by the residual muscles at each implant site are amplified and digitized by the IMES and sent to an external controller. Where once an amputee would have only two degrees of freedom provided by surface EMG, IMES can provide six to eight, significantly enhancing limb control.

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Insertion System for Microelectrode Arrays

Insertion device

Our laboratory developed a high-speed insertion system for the purpose of implanting Wireless Floating Microelectrode Array (WFMA) devices while minimizing damage to the underlying tissue. The system offers greater control over velocity and position compared to previously reported systems, which use either a spring or pneumatic action. The system consists of a handheld insertion device, a control unit, a plastic collet for protection, and a transfer tool for storage and handling.

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