Director's Message

On November 3, 2010 the Bioengineering Institute at WPI was pleased to host its second international symposium on neuroprosthetics. We welcomed some 140 people to our campus that day, while another 60 participants from 15 countries across five continents logged in to watch the event’s live webcast.

The growing global interest in neuroprosthetics is encouraging, because the need for better solutions for amputees is clear.  Judging from the response of colleagues that day, those who attended Neuroprosthetics 2010 found themselves engaged in a thoughtful and provocative event.  There were areas of agreement, and some disagreement, resulting in a lively discussion of the significant problems that need to be resolved to bring advanced, integrated, neurally-controlled prosthetics to patients. I believe those solutions will flow when leaders in the field come together to interact, to challenge each other’s ideas, and to foster new collaborations. Our symposium provided an excellent forum for such interactions to happen.

The scientific presentations were at the forefront of osseointegration and soft-tissue regeneration, which are perhaps the key areas that need to be advanced to make next-generation artificial limbs a clinical reality.  The impassioned keynote speeches by Kendra Calhoun, president of the Amputee Coalition of America, and Col. Jennifer Menetrez, MD, director of the U.S. Army’s Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas, reminded us all that we must keep the real-world needs of amputees foremost in our thoughts as we pursue our research.

I encourage you to explore these web pages, which include videos of the plenary presentations, and the question and answer sessions that followed, where much of the day’s debate unfolded.  After digesting the data, the human stories, and the potential of this emerging science and technology, I hope you will be motivated to join us for Neuroprosthetics 2011, set for November 9 at WPI, to become part of this important and growing endeavor.


Grant McGimpsey
Director, WPI Bioengineering Institute

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Last modified: January 19, 2011 12:16:09