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
Show Details1hr 3min
A1 Open-Source Bionic Leg | Prof. Elliott Rouse and Prof. Levi Hargrove
Hide Details52min 59s

Interview with the senior authors of the article “Design and clinical implementation of an open-source bionic leg” (Azocar et al., Nat Biomed Eng, 2020), Prof. Elliott Rouse, Ph.D., at the University of Michigan, and Prof. Levi Hargrove, Ph.D., at the Sherly Ryan AbilityLab and Northwestern University. We discuss their Open-Source Leg project in the context of the state-of-the-art in prosthetic legs, promising research directions, and how to identify “not so good” research or development ideas.

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

Episode timestamps

(00:00) Coming up

(01:23) Introduction

(02:51) Introducing A. Prof. Elliott Rouse

(04:32) Introducing A. Prof. Levi Hargrove

(06:10) Why the open-source leg (OSL)?

(10:30) The OSL: The Design and Development

(14:40) The OSL: The Purpose

(17:03) Translation to Industry

(20:40) Human testing

(24:05) Neural Integration

(27:48) Multiple degrees of freedom?

(30:13) The Limiter: Hardware or Control?

(36:55) Safety and Therapy as a Consideration

(38:04) Sensory feedback

(39:05) Setting research priorities: Are we satisfying patient’s needs?

(39:52) Interesting research topics and directions

(41:50) Critically appraising previous research

(45:00) Identifying bad ideas.

(51:55) OSL website and further information.

52min 59s
Published Jan 24, 2021 at 8:21pm
1 Prof. Gerald E. Loeb | Neuroprostheses
Show Details1hr 45min
Welcome to Conversations on Bionics and Pain
Show Details7min 41s