CLOsed-loop Neural prostheses for vestibular disorderS

BioRobotics Institute Role: 

Project Lifetime
Jan 2009 to Mar 2013

Funding Institutions: 

European Commission

Research Program: 
FP7-ICT-2007-C, FET-Open
Grant no.: 
SSSA Total Cost: 
803,048 €
Contribution to SSSA: 
619,848 €
Dedicated website: 

The CLONS project aims to develop suitable technological solutions to increase the quality of life of people affected by vestibular disorders. Specifically, an innovative closed-loop sensory neural prosthesis will be developed and tested in animal models and eventually implemented for in a clinical population (humans). This prosthesis will restore vestibular information by electrically stimulating nerves connected to the semicircular canals. The stimulation patterns will be based on information provided by inertial sensors mounted to the user's head. This ambitious, inter-disciplinary project will require overcoming the following challenges:

    - intra-vestibular interfaces able to create connections with neurons innervating the vestibular periphery
    - implantable circuitry that is powerful and robust yet small and biocompatible
    - an artificial vestibular system that can be attached to a user's head
    - machine learning to discover effective vestibular stimulation strategies
    - algorithms to adaptive stimulation interaction with the prosthetic user


The CLONS project is an international collaboration between seven research institutions:

   - Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna, Pisa, Italy
   - Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering, St. Ingbert, Germany
   - University College of London, London, UK
   - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, France
   - Hôpitaux universitaires de Genève, Geneva, Switzerland
   - Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, USA
   - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland

Media - pictures: 



International Journal with peer review

- Perez Fornos A, Guinand N, van de Berg R, Stokroos R, Micera S, Kingma H, Pelizzone M, Guyot JP. Artificial balance: restoration of the vestibulo-ocular reflex in humans with a prototype vestibular neuroprosthesis. Front Neurol. 2014 Apr 29;5:66.

- Poppendieck W, Sossalla A, Krob MO, Welsch C, Nguyen TA, Gong W, DiGiovanna J, Micera S, Merfeld DM, Hoffmann KP. Development, manufacturing and application of double-sided flexible implantable microelectrodes. Biomed Microdevices. 2014 Jul 31.

- Nguyen TA, Ranieri M, DiGiovanna J, Peter O, Genovese V, Perez Fornos A, Micera S. A real-time research platform to study vestibular implants with gyroscopic inputs in vestibular deficient subjects. IEEE Trans Biomed Circuits Syst. 2014 Aug;8(4):474-84. doi: 10.1109/TBCAS.2013.2290089.

- DiGiovanna J, Carpaneto J, Micera S, Merfeld DM, 2012. Alignment of angular velocity sensors for a vestibular prosthesis. J Neuroeng Rehabil. 2012 Feb 13;9(1):14.

- Bassi Luciani L, Genovese V, Monaco V, Odetti L, Cattin E, Micera S, 2012. Design and Evaluation of a new mechatronic platform for assessment and prevention of fall risks. J Neuroeng Rehabil. Jul 28;9:51.

- DiGiovanna J, Gong W, Haburcakova C, Kögler V, Carpaneto J, Genovese V, Merfeld D, Demosthenous A, Guyot JP, Hoffmann KP, Berthoz A, Morari M, and Micera S, 2010. A closed-loop neural prosthesis for vestibular disorders. Journal of Automatic Control 20(1):27-32.

Meet the team