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Neurocognitive and motor-control challenges for the realization of bionic augmentation

Robotic fingers and arms that augment the motor abilities of non-disabled individuals are increasingly feasible yet face neurocognitive barriers and hurdles in efferent motor control.

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Fig. 1: Motor augmentation for enhanced motor capabilities.
Fig. 2: Body parts used in current interfaces for the motor control of X-limbs.
Fig. 3: High-density arrays of recording electrodes for EMG can be used to extract the activity of single motor units using blind-source separation techniques.
Fig. 4: A monkey performing an isometric-force-generation task with their right arm, and a centre-out reaching task using a decoder of the primary motor cortex driven by input from the left contralateral arm.


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We thank D. Clode for her assistance with creating Figs. 1 and 2. T.R.M. was supported by an ERC Starting Grant (715022 EmbodiedTech), a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship (215575/Z/19/Z) and MRC funding award G116768 at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit. S.M. was partly funded by the Bertarelli Foundation and the Swiss National Competence Center Research in Robotics. L.E.M was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (R01NS095251, R01 NS053603, R01 NS109257).

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All authors contributed equally to all aspects of this piece, from conceptualization through to the writing and editing.

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Correspondence to Tamar R. Makin, Silvestro Micera or Lee E. Miller.

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Nature Biomedical Engineering thanks Daniel Ferris, Juan Moreno and Renaud Ronsse for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Makin, T.R., Micera, S. & Miller, L.E. Neurocognitive and motor-control challenges for the realization of bionic augmentation. Nat. Biomed. Eng (2022).

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