A study at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to assess the functionality of the Modular Prosthetic Limb is being expanded to include civilian in addition to military amputees. Several spin-off projects have begun to take off as well. Working with Second Sight, the team is developing the Hybrid Augmented Reality Multimodal Operation Neural Integration Environment—HARMONIE—a semiautonomous controller for assistive robotic manipulators and remote devices.
With 17 degrees of freedom and more than 100 sensors in the hand and upper arm, the Modular Prosthetic Limb (MPL) is the world’s most sophisticated upper-extremity prosthesis. There are currently six MPLs being used for research purposes across the United States, with four more in development. Because of the limited quantities of the device, APL has developed a virtual-reality MPL that runs in the Virtual Integration Environment (VIE). The VIE was developed to make the transition from a virtual training environment to the physical world with the actual MPL as seamless as possible, thus facilitating patient training for optimal control of the prosthetic limb. The VIE translates control signals into limb movements and displays a virtual model of these movements. In this environment, patients can test-drive limbs and provide feedback while still in the recovery stage or while a prosthetic arm is manufactured and fitted. The clinician interface to the VIE allows limb configuration parameters to be tuned for each patient in order to achieve maximum performance.
APL provides the VIE to clinicians and researchers through a no-cost licensing agreement. As of June 2014, sixteen institutions across the world have signed these agreements in applications focused on improvements in myoelectric, electrocorticographic, and cortical control open-loop and closed-loop studies.
A Real-Time Virtual Integration Environment for Neuroprosthetics and Rehabilitation (Johns Hopkins APL Technical Digest, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp. 198–206, 2011)