Conversations on Bionics and Pain

This show is about engineering and medical developments related to bionics and pain, particularly the use of science and technology to restore function in the human body and alleviation of pain.

The episodes come in two formats. The most common are long interviews with established researchers about their work and the historical context in which it happened, such as the state-of-the-art at the time and the motivation behind it. The second format is shorter interviews with the authors of recent scientific articles about their findings.

In both formats, the guests will talk about their career paths, their views on current challenges in the field, and the opportunities ahead. We also talk about their views on science and the social aspects surrounding it, without shying away from controversial topics.

The target audience is students and professionals interested in pain, bionics, biomechatronics, neural engineering, computer-brain interfaces, biomedical engineering, and such topics in which medicine and engineering partner up.

The show is hosted by Dr. Max Ortiz Catalan, Ph.D., who is the Director of the Center for Bionics and Pain Research ( and known for his work on prosthetic limbs and phantom limb pain.

Social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn

Music by Dr. Enzo Mastinu

Art by David Martín Espinosa


A2 Somatosensory Plasticity | Prof. Sliman Bensmaia
Show Details51min 10s
2 Prof. Todd Kuiken | Targeted Muscle Reinnervation
Hide Details1hr 3min

Prof. Todd Kuiken developed Targeted Muscle Reinnervation (TMR) – a surgical method to rewire the nervous system of people with amputations to better interface with prosthetic limbs. He is the Emeritus Director of the Regenstein Foundation Center for Bionic Medicine at the Sherly Ryan AbilityLab and an Emeritus Professor at Northwestern University. In addition to his contributions to the treatment of amputees, we talked about how great multidisciplinary medical and engineering teams can be created and the importance of having a clear direction. He also shared some insights on one of the hardest aspects of research - how to decide when to terminate projects and reject bad ideas, and we wrapped up with advices for students.

Interview by Dr. Max Ortiz Catalan, Ph.D., Bionics Professor and Director of the Center for Bionics and Pain Research (Social media: FB, TW, IG, and LI).

Episode timestamps

(00:00) Coming up…

(01:08) Introduction

(05:22) Career path

(07:02) Path leading to Targeted Muscle Reinnervation (TMR)

(09:16) The Center for Bionic Medicine (CBM) at RIC

(10:32) The Shirley Ryan Ability Lab

(11:56) Brining engineers and physicians together

(13:43) Working with different professions

(16:00) Targeted Muscle Innervation (TMR)

(19:00) Mathematical algorithms for decoding motor volition

(21:10) Route to TMR

(24:00) Dissemination of TMR

(24:39) TMR for Pain

(26:40) Regenerative Peripheral Nerve Interfaces (RPNIs)

(28:00) TMR to treat neuroma pain (Ann Surg)

(32:26) Neuroma Pain Vs Phantom Limb Pain

(34:37) TMR’s success rate

(36:00) Targeted Sensory Reinnervation (TSR)

(39:00) TMR as a standard of care

(40:35) Prof. Kuiken’s contribution to the field

(41:20) Further surgical modification for machine interfacing

(43:20) Osseointegration

(45:02) Myoelectric pattern recognition

(45:30) The relation between academy and industry

(48:40) Termination of "bad" ideas

(51:34) Using magnets to control wrist rotation

(43:40) Using magnets for dexterous control (Myokenetic)

(54:57) Neuromusculoskeletal prostheses

(56:20) Future of artificial limbs

(57:40) Wireless implantable electrodes

(59:23) Advice to students

1hr 3min
Published Feb 26, 2021 at 12:38pm
A1 Open-Source Bionic Leg | Prof. Elliott Rouse and Prof. Levi Hargrove
Show Details52min 59s
1 Prof. Gerald E. Loeb | Neuroprostheses
Show Details1hr 45min
Welcome to Conversations on Bionics and Pain
Show Details7min 41s