Bionic Limbs: Clinical Reality and Academic Promises

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Science Translational Medicine  08 Oct 2014:
Vol. 6, Issue 257, pp. 257ps12
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3010453

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Three recent articles in Science Translational Medicine (Tan et al. and Ortiz-Catalan et al., this issue; Raspopovic et al., 5 Feb 2014 issue, 222ra19) present neuroprosthetic systems in which sensory information is delivered through direct nerve stimulation while controlling an action of the prosthesis—in all three cases, arm and hand movement. We discuss such sensory-motor integration and other key issues in prosthetic reconstruction, with an emphasis on the gap existing between clinically available systems and more advanced, custom-designed academic systems. In the near future, osseointegration, implanted muscle, and nerve electrodes for decoding and stimulation may be components of prosthetic systems for clinical use, available to a large patient population.

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