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A ventral root interface for neuroprosthetic control of locomotion

Bauman, Matthew J (2019) A ventral root interface for neuroprosthetic control of locomotion. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Recent advances in state of the art prosthetic limbs have demonstrated unprecedented levels of dexterity and control within the constraints of an anthropomorphic structure. Unfortunately, patients still struggle to naturally control and rely upon relatively simpler lower limb devices with just one or two joints. For patients living with the loss of a limb, functional motor circuitry is still intact through the spinal cord and into the peripheral nerves, transforming higher level control signals into discrete muscle activations. An interface at the spinal roots can take advantage of this final output of the nervous system to control the device, completely avoiding some of the context sensitivity issues in higher level structures. Further, the anatomical separation of motor and sensory signals into distinct ventral and dorsal components and the relative stability of the spinal column provide a path towards a targeted neuroprosthetic interface.

This dissertation develops and validates methods to target motor axons in the ventral roots with multielectrode arrays. We demonstrate the ability to chronically record well-isolated signals from diverse populations of motor axons and develop techniques to identify the muscles they innervate. We subsequently use these motor signals to estimate kinematics during locomotion as accurately as estimations from simultaneously recorded muscle activity in the intact limb, demonstrating that a ventral root prosthetic interface is possible for patients living with loss of limb.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Bauman, Matthew Jmbauman@gmail.combam1140000-0003-1084-6010
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairWeber, Douglas Jdougweber@pitt.edudougweber0000-0002-9782-3497
Committee MemberGaunt, Robert Arag53@pitt.edurag530000-0001-6202-5818
Committee MemberFisher, Lee Elef44@pitt.edulef440000-0002-9072-3119
Committee MemberTorres-Oviedo, Gelsygelsyto@pitt.edugelsyto0000-0003-2415-1033
Committee MemberYakovenko, Sergiysergiy.yakovenko@gmail.com0000-0002-5946-6409
Date: 23 January 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 20 November 2017
Approval Date: 23 January 2019
Submission Date: 21 November 2018
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 131
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Bioengineering
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: peripheral nerve interface, prosthetics, spinal roots, neural interface, ventral roots
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2019 18:16
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2019 18:16


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