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Keynote Lectures

Miniaturized Implants on the Way into Clinical Applications
Thomas Stieglitz, University of Freiburg, Germany

Robots for Neurorehabilitation and Assistance of Gait
Robert Riener, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Active Upper Limb Prostheses - From Research to Clinics
Dario Farina, Goettingen University, Germany

 

Miniaturized Implants on the Way into Clinical Applications

Thomas Stieglitz
University of Freiburg
Germany
 

Brief Bio
Stieglitz studied electrical engineering, with a special focus on biomedical technology, at the Technical University of Braunschweig and the University of Karlsruhe. From 1993 to 2004, he worked at the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Technology in St. Ingbert where he developed and established the research field of neuroprosthetics. He has been the head of the Department of Biomedical Microtechnology at the Institute for Microsystems Technology (IMTEK) at the University of Freiburg since October 2004.
In St. Ingbert, Stieglitz focused mainly on a retinal implant or electrodes that stimulated the neurones of the peripheral nervous system. After his move to Freiburg, he started to work on electrodes targeting the central nervous systems (CNS) consisting of brain and spinal marrow.


Abstract
The microelectronic revolution with its miniaturization possibilities has changed our lives significantly. Assistance systems in cars and smartphones are prominent examples of the impact of these developments for activities of daily living. At first site, cardiac pacemakers, cochlea implants and deep brain stimulators look quite similar to the devices that have been developed 30 years ago. The electronic evolution happened in the shadows in most devices but their complexity remained limited. Neural implants to interface with the peripheral and central nervous system to restore vision, deliver bidirectional control of artificial hands, or establish brain-computer interfaces to control assistive devices need complex and miniaturized implantable devices. Microsystems technologies are able to offer the tools and materials for those devices. While the application of microsystem-based tools is already established in neuroscience in preclinical research, only few approaches have been reached the patient in clinical trials or even clinical practice. This presentation gives an overview of neural implants in clinical practice and discusses the possibilities and challenges of miniaturized neural implants. It will illustrate the potential of miniaturization on the examples like brain-computer-interfaces and sensory feedback in hand control after amputation.



 

 

Robots for Neurorehabilitation and Assistance of Gait

Robert Riener
ETH Zürich
Switzerland
 

Brief Bio
Robert Riener studied Mechanical Engineering at TU München, Germany, and University of Maryland, USA. He received a Dr.-Ing. degree in Engineering from the TU München in 1997. After postdoctoral work from 1998-1999 at the Centro di Bioingegneria, Politecnico di Milano, he returned to TU München, where he completed his Habilitation in the field of Biomechatronics in 2003. In 2003 he became assistant professor at ETH Zurich and Spinal Cord Injury Center of the University Hospital Balgrist (“double-professorship”); since 2010 he has been full professor for Sensory-Motor Systems at the Mechanical Engineering Department of ETH Zurich. Riener has published more than 400 peer-reviewed journal and conference articles, 20 books and book chapters and filed 20 patents. He has received 18 personal distinctions and awards. Riener’s research focuses on the design of novel user-cooperative robotic devices and virtual reality technologies applied to neurorehabilitation. Riener is the inventor and organizer of the Cybathlon 2016.


Abstract
Lower-limb exoskeletons can be very useful to restore walking abilities in two ways. First, they can be used as assistive devices to support elders or patients with gait impairments in daily life situations. Second, they can promote neurorehabilitation as training devices after neurological injuries such as spinal cord injury (SCI), traumatic brain injury and stroke. However, current solutions are still too bulky, too heavy and, thus, too inconvenient to use. Furthermore, torque induction into the human body joints is tricky, and often leads to mechanical stress in the attachment points and/or in the human joints as well as unwanted movements of the exoskeleton with respect to the human limbs. These disadvantages lead to unsatisfactory performance and discomfort. In this talk I will present current solutions and future trends of stationary gait training robots as well as wearable exoskeleton devises that can be used for training and assistance in daily life.



 

 

Active Upper Limb Prostheses - From Research to Clinics

Dario Farina
Goettingen University
Germany
 

Brief Bio
Dario Farina received the M.Sc. degree in electronics engineering from Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy, in 1998, and the Ph.D. degrees in automatic control and computer science and in electronics and communications engineering from the Ecole Centrale de Nantes, Nantes, France, and Politecnico di Torino, respectively, in 2002. During 2002–2004, he was a Research Assistant Professor at Politecnico di Torino and in 2004–2008 an Associate Professor in Biomedical Engineering at Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark. From 2008 to 2010, he was Full Professor in Motor Control and Biomedical Signal Processing and Head of the Research Group on Neural Engineering and Neurophysiology of Movement at Aalborg University. In 2010, he was appointed Full Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Neurorehabilitation Engineering, University Medical Center Göttingen, Georg-August University, Germany, within the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience. 
He is also the Chair for Neuroinformatics of the Bernstein Focus Neurotechnology Göttingen.

His research focuses on biomedical signal processing, modeling, neurorehabilitation technology, and neural control of movement. Within these areas, he has (co)-authored approximately 300 papers in peer-reviewed journals and over 300 among conference papers/abstracts, book chapters, and encyclopedia contributions. He is also an Editor of the book “Introduction to Neural Engineering for Motor Rehabilitation” (IEEE/Wiley). He is an Associate Editor of Medical & Biological Engineering & Computing and of the Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology and member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Neuroscience Methods. Dr. Farina has been the Vice-President of the International Society of Electrophysiology and Kinesiology (ISEK) from 2010 to 2012 and is currently President of ISEK. Among other recognitions and awards, he has been the recipient of the 2010 IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Early Career Achievement Award for his contributions to biomedical signal processing and to electrophysiology and has been elected IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Distinguished Lecturer for the term 2014-2015. He is an Associate Editor of IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING and of IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON NEURAL SYSTEMS AND REHABILITATION ENGINEERING.


Abstract
Active upper limb prostheses are controlled via a man-machine interface that establishes a link between the user’s nervous system and the robotic limb. This interfacing is commonly done with the remnant muscles above the amputation. In commercial systems, the intensity of muscle activity is extracted from the EMG and used for the direct control of single degrees of freedom. This type of control is limited to 1-2 degrees of freedom. More advanced control systems have been proposed in academia, either based on signal classification into a finite set of classes, or on continuous mapping (regression) of the EMG signal into the multiple degrees of freedom space(simultaneous and proportional control of multiple degrees of freedom). We review these advances, especially those based on regression. Moreover, the exclusive use of EMG as a source for feed-forward control of prostheses may not be sufficient and methods that integrate the EMG information with that from other sensors, within semiautonomous systems, may be preferable in the future. The talk will cover these topics with a discussion on the major challenges in filling the gap between commercial/clinical and academic methods for myocontrol.



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