The NEBIAS project coordinator, Silvestro Micera, explains how continuous EU funding helped his team to develop one of the world's most advanced bionic hands.

Person holding mobile phone

The ground-breaking technology developed by the EU funded NEBIAS project can have a direct impact on the lives of thousands of Europeans by enabling amputees to control artificial limbs in real time. Linking the patient's nervous system with artificial sensors, embedded in the prosthesis, will help patients in daily life activities and thus improve their quality of life.

NEBIAS was launched in November 2013 as a 4-year project and is funded by the EU under the Future and Emerging Technologies scheme with almost EUR 3.5 million. Together with its predecessor project CYBERHAND, NEBIAS can be seen as an example for the importance of EU funding for long lasting and intense multi-disciplinary research.

In this short interview, project coordinator Silvestro Micera reflects the importance of the EU FET funding for his research and describes how his innovation can help European citizens.

Silvestro, what was the main added value of EU funding to your project?

NEBIAS allowed us to move from a short-term proof of concept to long-term clinical test. This is of course extremely important for us and probably only the FET scheme would have funded this project for its “high-risk” characteristics.

Research in your field requires continuity. How important was the sustained EU funding for your research over several projects?

The FET scheme started funding us since 1998 (at that time it was “ESPRIT long-term research”) and it was crucial for our activities. Now we are exploiting this technology also for other applications such as vision restoration, neuromodulation of the autonomic nervous system, restoration of grasping function after stroke and spinal cord injury. We call this project in my lab “i4LIFE”. We are starting collaboration also on humanities and history. For example we recently published a paper in the journal Neurology about the work of a pioneer in the field, Giuliano Vanghetti.

How can European citizens benefit from the outcome/results of your project?

We are going to provide to amputees the most advanced solution in terms of functional restoration. This is going to improve their quality of life and improve their inclusion in everyday activities. Moreover, we are planning to exploit the technology developed during NEBIAS in new applications under the large umbrella of “bioelectronic medicine”.

 

More information

Project
NEurocontrolled BIdirectional Artificial upper limb and hand prosthesiS
Project coordinator
Silvestro Micera
Project Acronym
NEBIAS