Cleveland researchers awarded $2.5 million to evaluate prosthetic devices

The Defense Advanced Research Projects awarded a $2.5 million contract to a Cleveland Clinic researcher and his team.

The research team led by Paul Marasco, PhD, of Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner Research Institute’s Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center was given the award through the Defense Advanced Research Projects (DARPA)’s Hand Proprioception and Touch Interfaces (HAPTIX) program. HAPTIX’s goal is to give amputees better control over their prosthetic limbs as well as delivering naturalistic sensations through direct connections to the amputee’s nervous systems.

Marasco along with Jacqueline Herbert, MD, FRCPC, of the University of Alberta, and Jon Sensinger, PhD, PEng, of the University of New Brunswick will develop a list of outcome metrics for advanced prosthetic limbs.

“With this research, we hope to provide avenues to make better evidence-based decisions about advanced prosthetic arm,” Marasco stated in a press release. “These advances could help physicians make better clinical care decisions, justify to payers the need for advanced prosthetic devices, and ultimately improve the quality of life for persons with upper limb amputations.”

Marasco’s team plans to create a validated functional metrics for bidirectionally advanced prosthetic limbs within phase 1 of the 18-month award period. All team leaders are research scientists that operate within applied clinical environments. Their individual teams will operate alongside them based on each groups, skill set and experience.

If the team should succeed, the DARPA grant will be renewed for two more phases, for a total of $2.5 million.

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