NEurocontrolled BIdirectional Artificial upper limb and hand prosthesiS


BioRobotics Institute Role: 

Project Lifetime
Nov 2013 to Oct 2017

Funding Institutions: 

European Commission

Research Program: 
ICT-2013.9.6 FET Proactive: Evolving Living Technologies
Grant no.: 
SSSA Total Cost: 
1,053,346 €
Contribution to SSSA: 
822,646 €
Dedicated website: 

The NEBIAS (“NEurocontrolled BIdirectional Artificial upper limb and hand prosthesiS”) proposal aims at developing and clinically evaluating (in selected amputees) a neuro-controlled upper limb prosthesis intuitively controlled and felt by the amputee as the natural one. This will be possible by means of a novel neural interface able to provide a stable and very selective connection with the nervous system. This goal will be achieved by combining microtechnology and material science and will allow, on one side, recording of the motor-related signals governing the actions of the amputated hand/arm for the motion control of a mechanical prosthesis, and on the other providing sensory feedback from tactile and kinesthetic sensors through neuromorphic stimulation of the adequate afferent pathway within the residual limb.

The NEBIAS proposal is also aimed at finding out the ‘language’ intrinsically linking central nervous system with peripheral nerve signals in order to govern simple and complex hand/fingers movements. To reach this goal, a variety of techniques exploring brain and nerve functions will be assembled and integrated; this includes the analysis of electromagnetic brain and nerve signals, as well as of movement-related changes in brain's blood flow/metabolism.

What we do: 

Main tasks attributed to Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna are:

   - development of artificial limbs (Christian Cipriani);

   - development of decoding algorithms (Silvetro Micera);

   - neuromorphic coding of sensory information (Calogero Oddo).


The NEBIAS project is a european collaboration between six research institutions:

   - The BioRobotics Institute, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa, Italy;

   - Laboratory for Biomedical Microtechnology, Albert-Ludwigs-Universitaet Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany;

   - Institute of Neuroscience, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain;

   - Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Cagliari, Cagliari, Italy;

   - Institute of Neurology, Università Cattolica Sacro Cuore, Roma, Italy;

   - Research Group Primate Neurobiology, Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH, Göttingen, Germany.

Media - pictures: 



International Journal with peer review

- Raspopovic S, Capogrosso M, Petrini FM, Bonizzato M, Rigosa J, Di Pino G, Carpaneto J, Controzzi M, Boretius T, Fernandez E, Granata G, Oddo CM, Citi L, Ciancio AL, Cipriani C, Carrozza MC, Jensen W, Guglielmelli E, Stieglitz T, Rossini PM, Micera S, 2014. Restoring Natural Sensory Feedback in Real-Time Bidirectional Hand Prostheses. Sci Transl Med 5 February 2014: 6(222):222ra19.


- Micera S, Raspospovic S, Capogrosso M, Carpaneto J, Granata G, Oddo CM, Cipriani C, Stieglitz T, Schuettler M, Navarro X, Raffo L, Barbaro M, Rossini PM, 2014. Neurocontrolled bidirectional artificial upper limb and hand prosthesis (NEBIAS). Clinical Neurophysiology 125, Supplement 1 (2014) S1–S339

Meet the team