Health - a myocontrolled bionic hand

IRCCyN researchers are currently working on a robotic hand that is controlled naturally by the brain. (IRCCyN - Communication and Cybernetics Research Institute of Nantes, involving Nantes University – Centrale Nantes – the National Centre for Scientific Research - Mines Nantes).

on May 23, 2016

IRCCyN - Communication and Cybernetics Research Institute of Nantes

Research at IRCCyN not only aims to produce new knowledge, it also has a deep-seated technological calling. It focuses on the development of tools and methods in order to bring solutions to concrete problems raised by economic and social partners. IRCCyN's research work and development activities span a very wide spectrum: automatic control, signal and image processing, real-time systems, bioinformatics, robotics, production systems, cognitive psychology, virtual engineering etc.

IRCCyN is a research unit run jointly by several academic institutions who are committed to ever-closer relationships. We work together on a daily basis, joining forces and adopting a cross-disciplinary approach in order to solve a problem, to address societal issues. Blending expertise is in our DNA. Michel Malabre, IRCCyN Director.

Find out more: irccyn.ec-nantes.fr
Walking, shaking hands, picking up an object - the simplest everyday movements are all under the brain's control. These basic movements are difficult for amputees to reproduce with prosthetic devices.

"When a limb is amputated, the natural signals that carry the instruction from the central nervous system to muscles to perform a movement remain intact above the amputation site" explained Eric Le Carpentier, Centrale Nantes professor and member of the ADTSI research team at IRCCyN. "Our objective is to target these signals, understand and use them so that an amputee can control his/her prosthetic hand in a precise and satisfactory manner, so that an amputee can make subtler movements with his/her prosthetic device".

To this end, the researchers collect the electromyographic signal, via electrodes placed on the muscle, to reconstruct the neural control input emitted by the brain to perform a movement. "This inversion allows us to reconstruct the source of the signal sent by the nervous system in order to extract the richest, strongest and most natural information possible", stressed Eric Le Carpentier.
Several years of laboratory development have allowed the IRCCyN researchers to devise an efficient inversion algorithm. Neural control thus reconstructed adequately accounts for movement in non-amputees. The objective is to test this algorithm to control a robotic hand. "As the algorithm has a parallel structure, we are today looking to implant it on parallel processors such as graphic processors. We are also considering real-time communication with high performance computers, like the one at Centrale Nantes, which could replace embedded systems" outlined Yannick Aoustin, of Nantes University and member of the robotics team at IRCCyN.

Other research work is also underway to improve the response of the robotic hand, through muscular model simulation.
Published on May 27, 2016 Updated on March 21, 2017