Technologies


System and Method for Simulating Biofidelic Signals

Reference#: P02779


Neural prostheses are medical devices designed to restore damaged or lost neural functions. Such prostheses typically involve sensing the environment by using artificial sensors, converting data from these sensors into neural signals, and applying electrical stimulation to a neural epithelium in order to mimic the signals that would have been produced by the sensory environment if the native sensory transducers were still in place. In touch, the hand is the principal sensory organ, and feedback from the hand is critical in the dexterous manipulation of objects. The skin of the hand is innervated by different types of mechanoreceptors. Each mechanoreceptor type conveys different information about the object or surface that is palpated and is sensitive to different aspects of skin deformation. Slowly adapting type 1 (SA1) mechanoreceptive afferents, which innervate Merkel mechanoreceptors, are sensitive to coarse spatial structure; rapidly adapting (RA) afferents, which innervate Meissner mechanoreceptors, are sensitive to motion; and Pacinian (PC) afferents, which are associated with Pacinian mechanoreceptors, are sensitive to surface microgeometry. When these mechanoreceptors and their associated afferents are stimulated, they produce neural signals to give a person tactile sensory feedback.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory have developed a system for simulating biofidelic signals that includes a transducer and a neural transmitter port. The transducer is affected by a parameter and provides an alternating electrical signal based on an effect of the parameter. The neural transmitter port receives a processed electrical signal and outputs the processed signal to a neural transmitter. The system also includes an input portion, a band-pass filter, and an integrate-and-fire mechanism. The input portion outputs an initial signal based on the alternating electrical signal. The band-pass filter outputs an initial filtered signal based on the first signal. The integrate-and-fire mechanism generates the processed electrical signal based on the first filtered signal.

CONTACT:
Dr. G. R. Jacobovitz
Phone: (443) 778-9899
ott-techmanager3@jhuapl.edu