Össur and Alfred Mann Foundation Sign New Agreement to Extend Exploration of Mind-Controlled Prosthetics

The Organizations are Collaborating on Implanted Myoelectric Sensors to Control Bionic Prosthetic Limbs

November 4, 2019 – Jon Sigurdsson, President & CEO of Össur and John Petrovich, CEO of the Alfred Mann Foundation (AMF) recently signed a milestone agreement that allows Össur to further develop and license AMF’s implanted myoelectric sensor (IMES®) system as both organizations continue exploring the potential of mind-controlled prosthetic technologies.

The IMES® sensors are implanted in muscles that directly control the desired movement of a bionic prosthetic limb. The implants sense a small electrical charge in the muscle tissue and send information wirelessly to the prosthetic limb when the user intends to make specific movements. As a result, the bionic limb responds with the desired movement in virtually the same way that a sound arm, hand or leg would respond.

The world’s first-in-man cases to initially evaluate the IMES® technology were conducted in 2014 on upper-limb amputees from the US military, using i-Limb® bionic prosthetic hands produced by Össur. In 2015, two lower-limb amputees from Iceland had IMES® units surgically implanted into their residual muscle tissue and demonstrated their ability to control their Össur leg prostheses with their intentions.

As the IMES® system served as a bridge between the amputee users’ neuro-muscular system and their artificial limbs, the learning process took place subconsciously, continuously and in real-time for both users. The IMES® system has also successfully been used in another pilot study to control an entire bionic arm in amputees who had undergone targeted muscle re-innervation (TMR) surgery.

“We are eager to further explore how the user-experience will evolve when amputees use our advanced Bionic prosthetic solutions along with this advanced sensor technology,” said Jon Sigurdsson, President and CEO of Össur. “This agreement is another demonstration of our company’s continuing commitment to ongoing research and development in the field of advanced prosthetics, to help more people enjoy a life without limitations. Our Bionic products are truly ready to step into the future,” he said.

“We are proud to see our technologies taking a step towards the market, which is an essential part of our mission,” said John Petrovich, President and CEO of the Alfred Mann Foundation. “I can think of no better partner to carry on the future development of the IMES® system. Össur has the most extensive lineup of devices capable of using the system, and more importantly they have the vision to see that mind control will be an important part of the future of bionic prosthetics.”

More information about the Alfred Mann Foundation can be found here.