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Development of Hybrid Neuroprostheses and Neuroplasticity Evaluation System in a Virtual and Augmented Reality Environment

Abstract

Upper limb motor deficit causes a strong impact on the quality of life of individuals and their families, especially due to the relationship of dependency and low self-esteem that is established. This project aims to develop Neuroprostheses based on Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES), also known as Functional Electrical Stimulation, for 3 different pathologies: Tetraplegia, Hemiplegia, and Parkinson disease, aiming at upper limb rehabilitation. Although this technology can significantly improve the subject's quality of life making it independent in daily activities, there is no Neuroprostheses in the Brazilian market that can be used outside the clinical environment. This issue will be addressed in this project, incorporating hardware and software of signal processing and system control to the Neuroprostheses. A system to neuroplasticity evaluation due to neuroprostheses use, in a virtual and augmented reality environment will also be developed, based on electromiogram topographic brain mapping. The detection of motor patterns can be used both in the control loop and in the feedback system. The devices will be designed, implemented and evaluated experimentally and will be sought to determine specific activation and control routines, for efficient operation in each pathology. This is a long term work since the clinical effects due to the Neuroprostheses use are not get immediately; the monitoring will be continuing after the end of this project and other objectives will be assigned. After a preliminary training phase and muscular conditioning, with the health professional, subjects will be able to use the neuroprostheses in their daily routine, as an aid in carrying out their activities. The realization of this project will provide: (1) the formation of a research network on assistive technologies with the clinical centers; (2) an innovation that opens up numerous possibilities for clinical and technological studies and can leverage the industry in this area, a market still unexplored in Brazil; (3) human resources from this project. (AU)

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