Human-machine interface stops muscle tremor
5/12/2023 Transformation News

Human-machine interface stops muscle tremor

Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT, together with international collaborative partners, have developed a technology platform that will help people with muscle tremors to stop tremor in the future. Tiny biocompatible electrodes in the muscles, together with external electrodes and controllers, form an intelligent network of sensors and actuators that detects muscle signals and sets electrical stimuli as needed. In combination with exoskeletons, the technology could also support people with spinal cord injuries.

Miniaturized muscle implant from Fraunhofer IBMT Miniaturised muscle implant (Image: Fraunhofer IBMT)
A compact controller on the belt or under the jacket, a few inconspicuous textile electrodes on the arms and legs, and electrodes three centimetres long and barely one millimetre thin that are placed in the muscle – that is all that is needed to help people with tremor disorders in the future. Whenever the muscle tremor starts, the system sends electrical stimuli into the muscles, which are registered by the nervous system. The nervous system then stops sending interfering signals to the muscles and they calm down again. This is the basic idea behind the technology, for which scientists, together with joint partners, have designed, manufactured, integrated, and tested in experiments a set of intramuscular and external electrodes as well as the associated controller.

The scientists can already show concrete successes. "In trials with patients, we have succeeded in significantly reducing muscle tremors," explains Andreas Schneider-Ickert, Project Manager Active Implants and Innovation Manager.
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