This program focuses on engineering bionic systems to sense and actuate in response to human biology for biomedical intervention. Projects should be directed towards overcoming a technological challenge that limits biomedical adoption. This program encourages projects that use a design-build-test approach.
Examples of bionic systems include but are not limited to:
- artificial organs to replace function
- implantable devices to deliver therapeutic agents
- bioelectronic scaffolds for organ control
Furthermore, this program focuses on the development of mathematical and computational methods, the development of screening and processing tools, and the discovery of design principles to design, build, and test engineered bionic systems.
A trial funded in part by NIH is evaluating an investigational device called the BrainGate neural interface system. This is a type of brain-computer interface (BCI) intended to put robotics and other assistive technology under the brain's control. By imagining the movement of their own arms, two paralyzed individuals were able to use the BrainGate to make complex reach-and-grasp movements with robotic arms. Credit: The BrainGate Collaboration.
Epidural stimulation research funded by the NIH demonstrates remarkable results in humans with severe spinal cord injury. By increasing the excitability of the body's neural network, a level of function can be achieved, including the ability to stand independently. Perhaps even more remarkable, is the regaining of voluntary control of bladder, bowel, and sexual function.
Mr. Summers spoke movingly about how NIBIB sponsored research affected his life and helped him to regain vital functions such as the ability to sweat and to move his legs voluntarily, as well as bowel, bladder and sexual control.