Morphological Neural Computation Restores Discrimination of Naturalistic Textures in Trans-radial Amputees

Scientific Reports. 2020;10(1):1-14 DOI 10.1038/s41598-020-57454-4

 

Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Scientific Reports

ISSN: 2045-2322 (Online)

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group

LCC Subject Category: Medicine | Science

Country of publisher: United Kingdom

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML

 

AUTHORS


Alberto Mazzoni (The Biorobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna)

Calogero M. Oddo (The Biorobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna)

Giacomo Valle (The Biorobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna)

Domenico Camboni (The Biorobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna)

Ivo Strauss (The Biorobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna)

Massimo Barbaro (Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Università di Cagliari)

Gianluca Barabino (Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Università di Cagliari)

Roberto Puddu (Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Università di Cagliari)

Caterina Carboni (Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Università di Cagliari)

Lorenzo Bisoni (Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Università di Cagliari)

Jacopo Carpaneto (The Biorobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna)

Fabrizio Vecchio (Brain Connectivity Laboratory, IRCCS San Raffaele Pisana)

Francesco M. Petrini (Bertarelli Foundation Chair in Translational Neuroengineering, Centre for Neuroprosthetics and Institute of Bioengineering, School of Engineering, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL))

Simone Romeni (The Biorobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna)

Tamas Czimmermann (The Biorobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna)

Luca Massari (The Biorobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna)

Riccardo di Iorio (Institute of Neurology, Catholic University of The Sacred Heart, Policlinic A. Gemelli Foundation)

Francesca Miraglia (Brain Connectivity Laboratory, IRCCS San Raffaele Pisana)

Giuseppe Granata (Institute of Neurology, Catholic University of The Sacred Heart, Policlinic A. Gemelli Foundation)

Danilo Pani (Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Università di Cagliari)

Thomas Stieglitz (Laboratory for Biomedical Microtechnology, Department of Microsystems Engineering–IMTEK; Bernstein Center Freiburg and BrainLinks-BrainTools Center University of Freiburg)

Luigi Raffo (Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Università di Cagliari)

Paolo M. Rossini (Brain Connectivity Laboratory, IRCCS San Raffaele Pisana)

Silvestro Micera (The Biorobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna)

EDITORIAL INFORMATION

Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 20 weeks

 

Abstract | Full Text

Abstract Humans rely on their sense of touch to interact with the environment. Thus, restoring lost tactile sensory capabilities in amputees would advance their quality of life. In particular, texture discrimination is an important component for the interaction with the environment, but its restoration in amputees has been so far limited to simplified gratings. Here we show that naturalistic textures can be discriminated by trans-radial amputees using intraneural peripheral stimulation and tactile sensors located close to the outer layer of the artificial skin. These sensors exploit the morphological neural computation (MNC) approach, i.e., the embodiment of neural computational functions into the physical structure of the device, encoding normal and shear stress to guarantee a faithful neural temporal representation of stimulus spatial structure. Two trans-radial amputees successfully discriminated naturalistic textures via the MNC-based tactile feedback. The results also allowed to shed light on the relevance of spike temporal encoding in the mechanisms used to discriminate naturalistic textures. Our findings pave the way to the development of more natural bionic limbs.