Todd A. Kuiken received his MD and Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Northwestern (1990) and his residency in PM&R at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (1995). Dr. Kuiken currently is the Director of the Center for Bionic Medicine in the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. He is a Professor in the Depts. of PM&R, Biomedical Engineering and Surgery of Northwestern University.
Dr. Kuiken’s research team is working to develop a neural-machine interface to improve the function of artificial limbs. A main research focus of the lab has been developing a technique to use nerve transfers for improvement of myoelectric upper limb prosthesis control. By transferring the residual arm nerves in an upper limb amputee to spare regions of muscle it is possible to make new signals for the control of robotic arms. These signals are be directly related to the original function of the limb and allow simultaneous control of multiple joints in a natural way. Similarly, hand sensation nerves grow into spare skin so that when this skin is touched, the amputee feels like their missing hand is being touched. This work has now been extended with the use of pattern recognition algorithms, enabling the intuitive control of both upper and lower limb prostheses.
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