Networked Neuroprosthetic (NNP) System

Background

Neuroprosthetic devices are powerful tools providing life sustaining and functional enhancement for individuals with central nervous system disorders, such as spinal cord injury and stroke. In general, a neuroprosthetic system should provide:

  • The robust functions that users demand
  • Understandable and intuitive tools that clinicians need to implement those functions
  • The technical transparency for surgeons to install the system successfully
  • The power, flexibility, and upgradeability to meet the demanding and changing needs of researchers for continued development of new and improved functionality and control

Existing Implanted Neuroprosthetic Systems

  • Utilize multiple implanted stimulus and sensing channels
  • Require extensive external powering and signal processing
  • “Centralized-link systems” a single implanted device forms the hub of a multi-channel system and all implanted components originate or terminate at this single location
  • Each system must be customized to the specific application for which it is intended, making these devices “single application systems”

Limitations of Existing Neuroprosthetic Systems

  • The fixed and inflexible architecture of centralized-link systems has several disadvantages:
  • Limited flexibility in features, address only one disabling condition, and difficult to adapt to other applications without redesign and further development
  • Difficult and costly to upgrade or expand – usually involves component removal and replacement
  • Difficult to install for modest and complex applications
  • Require donning external components for functional operation and cannot be used underwater while bathing/showering

The Networked Neuroprosthetic (NNP) System

  • Based on a network of small implanted modules – “neuroprosthetic building blocks”
  • Modules are distributed throughout the body
  • Each module is dedicated to a specific function
  • Modules are linked to a centralized power source via a network cable
  • All modules communicate with each other via the network cable

The advantages of the NNP SYSTEM

  • Neuroprosthesis capacity can be tailored to the individual’s needs
  • Hardware is scalable from simple to complex applications
  • Multiple disabilities can be addressed in a single individual
  • Upgradeable – in hardware and/or software – to accommodate new technologies (upgrades)
  • Adaptable to the changing needs of the user (functional enhancements)
  • Frees the user from the need for external components – neuroprosthesis function is available spontaneously and in any environment

NNP SYSTEM components

  • The NNP SYSTEM provides a portfolio of components that can be selected and connected in a “Plug ‘n’ Play” manner. Components include:
  • Power Module – Provides the power source and power distribution to the Modules. The implanted power source is recharged via a transcutaneous inductive link. The Power Module incorporates a bidirectional wireless link used for monitoring and programming functions
  • Actuator Modules – These are target-based: Muscle Stimulators, Nerve Stimulators etc.
  • Sensor Modules – These are source-based: Biopotential, Transducer, etc.
  • Network Cable – Provides the power and high-speed data connection for the Modules
  • Electrodes – Appropriate stimulating and recording electrodes are used with the Modules

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NNP SYSTEM as a Scalable Platform technology

  • The modular architecture of the NNP SYSTEM is scalable to meet the technical needs of a broad range of neuroprosthetic applications
  • Designed with an open architecture, providing the infrastructure to allow the development of new hardware, software, and control schemes and subsequent implementation in existing systems
  • Provides an enabling platform technology upon which new clinical applications can be developed for a multitude of neurological disorders using a new stimulating and sensing neural interfaces, such as current steering, action-potential blocking, etc.

Clinical Application

  • Neuroprosthesis capacity can be tailored to the individual’s needs and has complete flexibility in the configuration of stimulus (output) and sensor (input) channels
  • The NNP SYSTEM has the ability to address multiple disabilities in a single individual
  • Scalable to efficiently meet the requirements of simple through advanced systems
  • The NNP SYSTEM can be expanded and upgraded after initial implantation without component removal
  • Open architecture to accept new innovations. Rapidly incorporate new innovations by investigators (with backward compatibility)
  • Powerful enough to allow advanced feedback and other control system techniques to be applied – e.g. autonomous control