Release Date:  December 18, 1998



National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

The Neural Prosthesis Program (NPP) of the National Institute of Neurological
Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Institutes of Health, is committed to
research and development on functional neuromuscular stimulation (FNS) to restore
hand and arm function in quadriplegic individuals at the highest functional level
possible.  These FNS systems operate under the voluntary control of the
individual.  Generating control signals for a prosthesis that are integrated with
the individual"s uninjured, voluntary, cortical motor system is a critical part
of any potential FNS system.  Presently, control signals are generated by
voluntary movements of unparalyzed muscles such as the contralateral shoulder. 
The goal of this research is to establish the feasibility of generating control
signals by direct voluntary control of neurons in the central nervous system
(CNS).  To demonstrate that cortical neural activity can be used to control a
prosthesis, we need to demonstrate that the neural activity of selected cell
populations in the CNS can be reliably recorded for extended periods of time. 
Then it must be shown that the signals from this population of neurons can, under
voluntary control, reliably control an electromechanical device.  During the
current contract period, it has been demonstrated that a rat can modulate neural
activity in its motor cortex to control a mechanical arm to retrieve a food
reward.  Efforts are underway to duplicate these results in animals with a
gyrencephalic brain, but thus far, chronic recording has been difficult to
achieve in larger brained animals.  The focus of this research will be on the
development of chronic microelectrode recording techniques in a primate with a
gyrencepahalic brain.  There will also be research on extracting control signals
from the recorded neural activity.  The results of these animal studies are
needed by the NPP to provide information on microelectrode recording array
design, recording site selection, number of cells required to provide stable
control signals, and the ability to adapt to changes in recorded cell
populations.  These factors are all critical to establishing reliable control
signals from neural activity.  This information is also needed before a decision
can be made to initiate feasibility studies in spinal cord injured individuals. 
Personnel with established expertise in neurophysiology, bioengineering, and
histopathology will be needed to perform this research.  It is anticipated that
two awards may be made for a period of three years in September 1999.  This is
not a Request for Proposals (RFP).  

The solicitation will be available electronically only.  It will be available at
this website (
 15 or more calendar days after the issuance of this synopsis.  Offerors are 
 responsible for routinely checking thiswebsite for any possible solicitation 
 amendments that may be issued.  Noindividual notification of any amendments 
 will be provided.  All responsiblesources may submit a proposal which shall be 
 considered by the agency.


Inquiries may be directed to:

Laurie A. Leonard
Contracts Management Branch
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
7550 Wisconsin Avenue, Room 901, MSC 9190
Bethesda, MD  20892
Telephone:  (301) 496-1813
Email:  LL44S@NIH.GOV

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