The conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have left a terrible legacy: more than 1,200 returning American soldiers have lost one or more limbs. To address this growing national need, researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) are laying the groundwork for a new generation of advanced prosthetic limbs that will be fully integrated with the body and nervous system. These implantable neuroprosthetics will look and function like natural limbs, enabling injured soldiers and the more than 2 million other amputees in the United States lead higher quality, more independent lives.
As part of the recently approved Department of Defense appropriations bill, the U.S. Congress has allocated $1.6 million to the Center for Neuroprosthetics and BioMEMS (CNB), part of WPI's Bioengineering Institute, to advance this groundbreaking work. Sponsored by Massachusetts Senators John Kerry and Paul G. Kirk Jr and Massachusetts Representative James P. McGovern, the allocation will, in particular, fund work at WPI on neural control for advanced prosthetics. The allocations will be directed by the U.S. Army's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Resource Center (TATRC).