Direct neural control of prostheses via nerve implants

Benjamin William Metcalfe, Dingguo Zhang, Thomas Dos Santos Nielsen

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


The primary goal of direct neural control is to provide a seamless interface to the body's own control and feedback systems. In the case of an upper limb amputation, such an interface would ideally enable a direct mapping of motor commands and sensory feedback to and from a prosthesis and the undamaged portion of the nervous system. In theory, this interface could be constructed in such a way that control of the prosthesis was transparent to the user, feeling as close as possible to the original limb. This idealised paradigm would require no training or learning on the part of the user or the prosthesis. To provide this level of natural control, an interface is required between the peripheral nervous system (PNS) and the prosthesis. In practice, of course, no such ideal interface exists. However, recent developments in electrode design, biocompatible materials and signal processing are paving the way for the emergence of superior interfaces in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationControl of Prosthetic Hands : Challenges and emerging avenues
Number of pages25
PublisherInstitution of Engineering and Technology
Publication date2020
ISBN (Electronic)9781785619847
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Institution of Engineering and Technology 2021.


  • Direct neural control
  • Feedback systems
  • Medical control systems
  • Motor commands
  • Nervous system
  • Peripheral nervous system
  • Prosthesis
  • Prosthetics
  • Upper limb amputation


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