WPI lands $1.6 million in federal cash to develop neuroprosthetics

Worcester Polytechnic Institute is getting a $1.6 million shot in the arm thanks to the U.S. Congress, which allocated the money for WPI’s program to develop advanced prosthetics that are integrated into the human body.

Part of the U.S. Defense Dept.’s 2010 budget will go toward developing technology to help the more than 1,200 soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who’ve returned from Iraq and Afghanistan missing limbs. WPI’s Center for Neuroprosthetics and BioMEMS has 30 researchers across a variety of disciplines dedicated to developing lifelike artificial limbs that are directly linked to the nervous system.

WPI said the researchers are focusing on a pair of main goals. One is developing regenerative tissue to “create a robust soft-tissue seal around an implanted limb to make possible natural movement and deter infection,” according to a press release. The other is to use tiny wires as scaffolds to attract and hold neural stem cells and regenerate nerves.

“Ultimately, by regenerating nerves, it is anticipated that it will be possible to connect the limb directly to the nervous system, enabling it to send feedback to and receive commands from the brain,” according to the release.

In September last year, WPI held a symposium on neuroprosthetics. Grant McGimpsey, director of the Bioengineering Institute, told MassDevice at the time that the institute’s program grew out of a meeting with the late Sen. Ted Kennedy and a trip to to Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s amputation ward.

“I saw folks there that had come back from Iraq and I just knew I had to do something about it personally. It became a bit of a crusade for me,” McGimpsey told us. “We spent some time here thinking about how we might build a center for neuroprosthetics research. We approached the John Adams Innovation Institute in Westborough, [Mass.], and asked them how we might get some support to build a center that would become self-sustaining as a research organization, with a focus on implantable prosthetics and neuroprosthetics. We submitted a proposal and got that funded [in 2007].”

The Defense Dept. allocation was sponsored by Sens. John Kerry and Paul Kirk Jr. and U.S. Rep. James McGovern.

RSS From Medical Design & Outsourcing

  • Athermal laser machining cuts bioabsorbable polymers and more
    A the recent MD&M East trade show in New York, Norman Noble, discussed the capability of athermal laser manufacturer. The company has developed the Noble S.T.E.A.L.T.H. (System To Enable Ablation Laser Technology Haz-free). The athermal laser machining process was developed to create precise features in any material, including bioabsorbable polymers, shape memory metals and other […]
  • Exciting possibilities for metallic glass in the medical device world
    Researchers are exploring the potential of metallic glass as a versatile, pliable material that is stronger than steel, with a bevy of possible medical device applications. Yale University engineers have discovered a unique method for designing metallic glass nanostructures across a wide range of chemicals, a technique that could have applications for everything from watch […]
  • Strong Precision Technologies’ medical divisions to unify under MedTorque brand
    Strong Precision Technologies announced on July 2, 2015, that its two medical divisions will now go to market under a single brand, MedTorque. The move reflects the increasing integration of the division formerly known as Inland Midwest with MedTorque, its sister division in Kenosha, WI. “We will continue providing our customers with the personalized level of service […]
  • Olympus offers next-day product replacement guarantee for medical devices
    Olympus, a medical and surgical procedures solutions company, announced that it is guaranteeing next-day replacements for surgical equipment at no additional charge. Olympus is the first surgical product manufacturer to offer this type of guarantee. The service became available to customers with an Olympus Full Service Agreement earlier this year. “Canceled procedures can be costly for healthcare facilities […]
  • More accurate prediction on prognosis in multiple myeloma from SkylineDx
    SkylineDx, a biotechnology company specializing in the development and commercialization of genetic tests, is launching its MMprofiler assay. This test enables clinicians to more accurately predict the prognosis of patients with multiple myeloma (bone marrow cancer) than traditional methods. The MMprofiler measures the activity of 92 genes which are directly or indirectly related to the […]
  • Flint Mobile swaps card reader for camera, accept mobile payments anywhere
    Flint Mobile, the swipe-free mobile payments app, has significantly expanded its payment management and loyalty capabilities for small, service-centric businesses, like the ones run by on-the-go medical equipment professionals. The toggle-free mobile technology makes the process quite simple for both parties, as all transactions are conducted through the mobile device’s camera without the need of any external […]
  • Should scientists be allowed to genetically alter human embryos?
    Scientists have at their disposal, a way to explore the possible prevention of genetic diseases before birth. But should they? Currently, the most promising path forward involves editing the genes of human embryos, a procedure threaded with controversy. An article in “Chemical & Engineering News” (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society (ACS), parses […]
  • Tackling chronic sinusitis by addressing underlying factors
    The stuffy noses and sinus pressure of head colds are uncomfortable, but for most people, they go away within days. For those with chronic sinusitis, however, those symptoms and others drag on for weeks. Now scientists are onto a potential new therapy that could address one of the underlying factors associated with the condition. They […]
  • Implantable “artificial pancreas” could help diabetes patients control their blood sugar
    Living with Type 1 diabetes requires constant monitoring of blood sugar levels and injecting insulin daily. Now scientists are reporting in the American Chemical Society (ACS) journal, “Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research,” the development of an implantable “artificial pancreas” that continuously measures a person’s blood sugar or glucose level and can automatically release insulin as […]
  • Drug Deactivation program roll out to all facilities for safe disposal of unused prescription medications
    Verde Technologies announced that New Brighton-based Meridian Behavioral Health, the largest for-profit substance abuse and addiction treatment group in Minnesota, has become its most recent partner in the deactivation and safe disposal of prescription medications including methadone. Meridian is the first behavioral health group to roll out the Deterra Drug Deactivation System to all 17 […]
  • Lophius Biosciences introduces T-activated ImmunoScan Cocktail
    Lophius Biosciences announced the commercial launch of T-Track ImmunoScan and T-activated ImmunoScan Cocktail. Based on a proprietary and very specific cocktail of stimulants in combination with the Company’s T-activation technology, T-Track ImmunoScan and T-activated ImmunoScan Cocktail specifically target different cell types involved in both the adaptive and innate immune system. T-Track ImmunoScan and the T-activated […]

Leave a Reply