Alfred Mann Foundation announces first implantation of myoelectric sensor system

The Alfred Mann Foundation announced the first recipient of its investigational myoelectric sensor system, a minimally invasive, intuitive, multi-channel control system for prosthetics.

The implantable, myoelectric sensor (IMES) system is being studied with injured veterans at the Walter Reed National Medical Military Center.

The IMES system consists of two small capsules about 16 mm long and 2 mm wide placed into the residual muscles of an amputated limb, where they detect contractions that elicit specific movements in the amputated part of the limb. These signals are wirelessly transmitted from the implanted sensor to a decoder box, which serves as an electronic brain. Bridging the decoder box to the artificial arm, the IMES system enables the signals sent from the brain to the remaining portions of the amputated muscles to intuitively control the prosthesis without the need for invasive brain or muscle reinnervation surgery.

The IMES system design currently provides up to three distinct degrees of freedom that can occur simultaneously, including opening and closing the hand, rotating the wrist and moving the thumb. Future systems are targeting up to 13 simultaneous degrees of freedom and the ability to combine pre-programmed patterned movements.

“I am deeply committed to improving the health and well-being of my patients,” Paul F. Pasquina, MD, retired army colonel and chair of the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Uniformed Services University and former chief of orthopaedics and rehabilitation at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, stated in a press release. “I was thrilled with the idea of collaborating with the Alfred Mann Foundation and leading the IMES project. It holds great promise for future amputees, and overcomes several of the flaws that exist with the other ‘thought-controlled’ systems available today. I couldn’t be happier with how quickly our first patient has adapted.”

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