Project Details


DESCRIPTION (Adapted from the applicant's abstract): Congenital upper
limb reduction deficits (i.e. missing hands) afflict an estimated 1 of
every 3000 children in the US and many thousands of children and adults
lose their upper limbs by amputation. The goal of this work is to
restore a dextrous hand to those patients lacking it. Current upper
limb prostheses can only restore simple movements, either with a split
hook or various types of artificial hands. The proposed project will
develop a novel hand controller based on transduction of volitional
muscle and tendon movements in the residual limb with tendon-actuated
pneumatic (TAP). The system will utilize pressure-sensitive foam to
measure pressure changes resulting from activation of muscle/tendon of
the residual limb. Signals from an array of these sensors will be
processed to determine the desired movement of digits. Preliminary
results from tests on a wrist disarticulation amputee indicate that
suitable signals can be recorded and detected. Phase I of this project
aims to reliably detect movement of individual forearm tendons produced
by intended movement of phantom fingers and to provide multi-finger
virtual typing capability for patients with missing or non-functional
hands. Use of the TAP hand by children with ULRD could restore a
greater dexterity than that which is offered by present prostheses and
may foster anatomical and functional development of nerves, muscles and
tendons that could operate advanced prostheses of the future.

The new prosthesis advances the state-of-the-art, and is expected to be
commercially available by 2000. there are thousands of individuals in
the U.S. and throughout the world who could benefit from a dexterous
hand, in order to perform their jobs, or use a keyboard.

The prosthesis can be marketed through traditional health practitioners
such as physical therapists, prosthetists, and physiatrists.
Effective start/end date6/1/989/30/99


  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development


  • Signal Processing
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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