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Advance Program »

Keynote Presentation #2

Talk title: Haptic Prostheses for Amputees: a Sense of Touch that is Virtually Real


For well over a century, advances in upper extremity prosthetics - artificial hands and arms - have been frustratingly slow. Even with the advent of myoelectrically controlled devices in the late twentieth century, many patients continued to prefer cable operated arms and hooks that were essentially Civil War era technology.

Among the challenges of developing more functional devices, two that remained intractable were the ability to perform coordinated multi-joint movements, and the ability to regain a sense of touch. Recently however, a surgical method known as Targeted Reinnervation (TRI) developed by Dr. Todd Kuiken has created new promise that both difficulties might be overcome.

In TRI, residual nerves from the amputated limb are transferred to intact muscles. The nerves reinnervate both the muscle as well as the overlying skin, creating both efferent and afferent connections to the phantom limb.

In this talk, I will give an overview of the TRI technique, and I will describe the development of advanced multi-degree-of-freedom prosthetic limbs as well as haptic prostheses for the restoration of senses such as pressure, vibration/texture, and temperature.

About the Speaker

photo: j. edward colgate

J. Edward

J. Edward Colgate received the Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering in 1988 from M.I.T. He subsequently joined Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he is currently the Pentair-Nugent Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Dr. Colgate's principal research interest is human-robot interaction. He has worked extensively in the areas of haptic interface and teleoperation, and he, along with collaborator Michael Peshkin, is the inventor of a class of collaborative robots known as "cobots."

He has served as an associate editor of the Journal of Dynamic Systems, Measurement and Control and the IEEE Transactions on Robotics and Automation. In addition to his academic pursuits, Dr. Colgate is a founder of Stanley Cobotics, the leading supplier of intelligent ergonomic assist devices to the industrial marketplace and of Chicago PT, a start-up devoted to rehabilitation robotics. Dr. Colgate is currently the co-Director of the Segal Design Institute at Northwestern.