On the use of longitudinal intrafascicular peripheral interfaces for the control of cybernetic hand prostheses in amputees
Significant strides have been recently made to develop highly sensorized cybernetic prostheses aimed at restoring sensorimotor limb functions to those who have lost them because of a traumatic event (amputation). In these cases, one of the main goals is to create a bidirectional link between the artificial devices le. g., robotic hands, arms, or legs) and the nervous system. Several human-machine interfaces (HMIs) are currently used to this aim. Among them, interfaces with the peripheral nervous system and in particular longitudinal intrafascicular electrodes can be a promising solution able to improve the current situation. In this paper, the potentials and limits of the use of this interface to control robotic devices are presented. Specific information is provided on: 1) the neurophysiological bases for the use peripheral nerve interfaces; 2) a comparison of the potentials of the different peripheral neural interfaces; 3) the possibility of extracting and appropriately interpreting the neural code for motor commands and of delivering sensory feedback by stimulating afferent fibers by using longitudinal intrafascicular electrodes; 4) a preliminary comparative analysis of the performance of this approach with the ones of others HMIs; 5) the open issues which have to be addressed for a chronic usability of this approach.