Māori Health Research PhD Scholarship (2016 funding round)

Mr Mahonri Owen
University of Waikato
Development of a neural interface for prosthetics
36 months

Lay summary

Prosthetics must work collaboratively with human patients and existing human-prosthetic interaction technologies to fulfil their assistive purpose. Current electro-mechanical, prosthetic hands exhibit poor comfort, low intelligence and a limited sense of belonging - factors that have prevented such devices moving beyond the prototype stage and into commercial markets. This project aims to address this problem by developing effective human-prosthetic interfacing solutions in the form of neural interfaces. Creation of such a device will help those suffering from physical disability and open pathways to increased functionality for amputees. This research will provide amputees the opportunity to have bodily function restored. An anthropomorphic, robotic, brain-controlled prosthetic hand capable of complex tasks will be developed and tested. The success of the project relies upon:

1. Understanding and modelling brain activities
2. Investigating effective control of rehabilitation exercises
3. Understanding rehabilitative requirements; and
4. Understanding compliant control algorithms for physical prosthetic-patient interaction.

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