A prosthetic hand controlled by the nervous system, robotic clothing to help people with walking, and biosensors to monitor how patients use equipment or exercise during rehabilitation are the focus of three research projects awarded £5.3 million by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The three research projects are led by Newcastle University, the University of Bristol and the University of Warwick working with 15 other university partners.

The Newcastle-led team will develop a prosthetic hand which will give users a sense of feedback. The team will build fingertip sensors to give the prosthesis a realistic sense of touch, including pressure, shear and temperature. In addition, a ‘virtual hand’ will provide information on the sense of the hand’s position and movement, known as proprioception. Finally, the system will translate the signals to a form the brain understands and stimulate the nervous system to help the user control the hand.

Research teams will also develop soft robotic clothing – for example, smart trousers could help vulnerable people avoid falls by supporting them whilst walking, give people added bionic strength to move between sitting and standing positions, and help people climb stairs.

More about the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council HERE

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