03 Jul Project NerveRepack funded by KDT JU (HORIZON Europe)
We are proud to announce that the project “NerveRepack: Intelligent neural system for bidirectional connection with exoprostheses and exoskeletons” has received funding from the European Union’s HORIZON Europe research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101112347, Key Digital Technologies Joint Undertaking (KDT JU), Research and Innovation Actions (RIA).
NerveRepack project is a 4-year disruptive project that aims to develop a new generation of bidirectional implantable electrodes connecting the human nervous system with external mechatronic aid devices such as exoskeletons and exoprostheses, thus helping people with arm amputations or leg paralysis regain their motor and sensorial functions.
Electrodes will be the primary bidirectional interface to the nerves, followed by the implantable module, comprising an ASIC for signal processing, a microcontroller, an antenna for radio communication, a coil for wireless power charging and a supercapacitor for energy storage. To enable data communication to the mechatronic structures, as well as their power management and control (via AI modules) an embedded system will be designed, fabricated, and tested. This system will then be integrated into the mechatronic structures of exoprosthesis or exoskeletons. Due to the presence of bidirectional implantable electrodes a close loop between the user’s brain and the device’s control system will be created, with the AI module being used to learn and interpret the user’s synaptic signals.
All the components and modules will be designed, fabricated, and tested with demonstration being assured by integrating the neural implantable systems with exoprostheses and exoskeletons into three demonstrators aimed at different categories of patients: with forearm amputation, with lower limbs paralysis and with single leg paralysis. This new generation of exoprostheses and exoskeletons controlled by the patient’s brain via the nervous system will change the paradigm of support for people with disabilities and will have an important social, economic, medical, and technological impact on our society. The technology advances including miniaturization, wireless communication and power supply, progresses in medical microsurgery tools and methods, new biocompatible materials and technologies will considerably contribute to the project implementation.
The project kicked off on the 1 st of June 2023. The NerveRepack consortium is led by The National Institute for R&D in Microtechnologies (IMT) in Bucharest is made up of major European research institutes, public and private enterprises, plus highly respected universities – all focusing on biomedical research and innovation. These 27 high-profile partners from 10 European countries integrate members from research and industry and with a broad range of expertise. This includes:
- Romania: University POLITEHNICA of Bucharest, Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Bucharest, Areus Development and Osteopharm.
- Germany: Fraunhofer IZM and Chemnitzer Werkstoffmechanik GmbH.
- Norway: University of South-Eastern Norway and Zimmer and Peacock Ltd.
- Italy: Politecnico di Torino, PBL and Omnidermal Biomedics
- Netherlands: Delft University of Technology, imec the Netherlands and Salvia BioElectronics
- Greece: University of Patras and University of Thessaly, National Hellenic Research Foundation and Ostracon
- Portugal: INEGI and Adapttech
- Poland: Sieć Badawcza Łukasiewicz – IW Textile Research Institute
- Spain: ABLE Human Motion
- Switzerland: Swistor, PROUD and Empa.
The role of ABLE Human Motion in the consortium is to provide one of the three demonstrators of the technology (ABLE Exoskeleton). First, we will further develop our technology, adding new mechanical, electronic and control features to adapt it for the integration with the bidirectional implantable electrodes developed in the project. We will also lead such integration and, finally, we will carry on the first round of validation tests of the new system.
NerveRepack is a great opportunity for ABLE Human Motion to collaborate with leading research institutions in Europe and be part of a disruptive project with the objective of creating a device that is expected to improve the lives of many people with disability.