Construction of a Database of Peripheral Nerve Anatomy for Neural Interface Research

Kendall Lennon, Russell Abedeen, Nicholas Cocoves, and Emilie Olsson

Authors:  Russell Abedeen, Nicholas Cocoves, Kendall Lennon, Emilie Olsson

Faculty Mentor:  Dr. Erin Patrick

College:  Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering


The ability of amputees to control state-of-the-art prosthetic limbs (e.g., like Luke Skywalker’s arm) are dependent on the design and operation of neuro-electronic interfaces. The manufacturability of peripheral nerve interfaces is becoming increasingly mature; however, a compiled source of anatomical parameters for model-based design of neural interfaces is not always available. This research seeks to generate a database of morphological and electrical parameters of the human upper arm peripheral nerve by performing a literature review and extracting relevant information from published works. This database can then be used in a computational model that can predict neural excitation by electrical stimulation and thus help optimize design of next-generation neural interfaces.

Poster Pitch

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8 Responses
  1. Emily Kelsey

    I really enjoyed reading your poster and thought it was an interesting concept. Can you elaborate on what Luke Skywalker’s arm is?

    1. Nicholas Cocoves

      Sure, Luke Skywalker has a Mechano-arm which is a cybernetic prosthetic. It moves in accordance with his thoughts like a normal limb would and allows him to maintain his sense of touch. In reality, we are working to design prosthetics that can function like Luke’s which requires neuro-electronic interfaces.

  2. Derek Pena

    This seems like a very intriguing study to me and the methods implemented to solve your problem were well explained. However, I was curious as to what implications the variations in nerve fiber counts and density would have. Does this represent differences across people or is it due to issues with the modelling software?

    1. Nicholas Cocoves

      Good question. We surveyed a vast amount of nerve samples and their subsequent fiber counts from a large amount of people, and fiber counts and densities absolutely vary between people. People can be born with different nerve amounts and densities from one another at birth, and injuries which lead to nerve damage can change these values throughout someone’s life as well. Thankfully peripheral nerves (the ones covered in our research) do regenerate with time, unlike spinal nerves.

  3. Zach W

    I see that you imported the fiber data to COMSOL for electrophysical modeling – were you able to develop any sort of relation between fiber density and neural activation from electric stimulation, or is that strictly a topic for future work? Otherwise, awesome job!

    1. Kendall Lennon

      We were not able to reach this point in our research yet but it is a topic we hope to explore in future work

  4. Dr. Donnelly

    I liked how you told me up front why this is important, also poster is very neat and crisp. Good job!