MIO-PRO aims to develop a new human-machine interface for the control of prostheses. This project combines two domains (prosthetics and regenerative medicine) that normally use quite different methodologies, for developing 3D muscle tissues from stem cells and for connecting them with the residual peripheral nerves of upper limb amputees. By applying electrodes to these implanted neo-muscles, it will be possible to control the movements of the prosthesis.
To achieve this goal, the project will be based on highly interdisciplinary research: advanced molecular biology techniques will be used to culture human stem cells and differentiate them into mature muscle phenotypes, biofabrication techniques (e.g., 3D bioprinting) will be devised to build cell-laden 3D structures mimicking the architecture of natural tissues. Finally, appropriate control interfaces for upper limb prostheses will be developed, integrated with the bio-constructs and tested in vitro and in vivo.
MIO-PRO is jointly carried out by the Regenerative Technologies Lab, coordinated by Leonardo Ricotti, and the Artificial Hands Area, coordinated by Christian Cipriani, in synergy with the research unit of the INAIL Prosthesis Center, coordinated by Emanuele Gruppioni.