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

  • 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

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


Upper Extremity FES System on Commercialization Path