Duration: September 2020 - August 2024

Funder: Commission of the European Communities

Research Team: Prof. Farina, Prof. Mengxing Tang, Dr. Deren Y. Barsakcioglu, Dr. Jaime Ibáñez, Mr. Bruno Grandi Sgambato, Ms. Emma Lubel

Collaborators: Università Campus Bio-Medico di Roma (Rome, Italy), Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT (Sulzbach, Germany) , Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II (Naples, Italy), University College London (London, United Kingdom), Universidad Autònoma de Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain), Össur hf. (Reykjavik, Iceland)

The SOMA project has the ambition to importantly advance the field of bidirectional interfaces with the peripheral nervous system by pursuing four main high-risk objectives.

  1. To importantly advance the state-of-the-art on the restoration of somatic sensations by means of a novel stimulation technique that reduces invasiveness and preserves selectivity and spatial discrimination of currently available most advanced solutions.
  2. To importantly improve the decoding of the activity of muscle structures and mapping it into motor commands for neuroprostheses through a miniaturized ultra-fast US recording system and advanced decoding algorithms, to be combined in a bidirectional arrangement with focused US stimulation.
  3. To investigate whether multiple somatic sensations can be delivered in amputees via focused US and gain insights into the spatio-temporal mechanisms relating cutaneous stimuli and afferent neural signals through an in-vitro model of the somatosensory system.
  4. To demonstrate that the newly developed US bidirectional interface enables close-to-natural somatic sensory feedback and effective myoelectric control of an external prosthesis.

The Imperial College research team is responsible for all work involving the investigation of ultrasound capabilities as an interface for motor intention decoding. The team is building Humam machine interfaces that leverage ultrasound capabilities to provide more robust and reliable control for its users in medical, industrial and entertainment settings.