“I think, therefore I walk!”

SNAP GmbH on their project for developing innovative prostheses

SNAP GmbH is currently working on leg prostheses which are controlled by the patient’s nerve impulses. This is what triggered the developer and their project partners to take “I think, therefore I walk!” as their motto.

The group is working on new types of prostheses for the lower extremities which are controlled by nerve signals from the brain. On 16.01.2013 at their New Year Reception they presented the intermediate results of their project to specialists in the BioMedical Science Centre Bochum. The project “Test facility for developing sensor-based neuronal adaptive prosthetics” receives funding from the State of NRW and the EU: The world-leading test facility at SNAP makes it possible to simultaneously carry out walking analyses and to measure brain activity (EEG). This enables patterns in the brain to be identified which can be used to control prostheses in future. The SNAP team’s vision is that patients using such prostheses should be able to carry out movements completely intuitively and thus to achieve significant improvements to their quality of life.

There is still a long way to go. “At the moment we are working on identifying so-called neuronal fingerprints which we can use to control prostheses reliably. Carrying out EEG measurements on test persons and later on patients, is one of this test facility’s key tasks at the moment”, tells us Prof. Dr. Hartmut Weigelt, scientific head at SNAP GmbH.

At the end of the three year project the aim is to establish a business model to continue the activities. Uwe Seidel, Managing Director of SNAP GmbH, is now searching for suitable collaboration partners who would be interested in using the test facility. “In future our facility can be used by both the industry – e.g. by prosthesis manufacturers – as well as by scientists and doctors. It is suitable for a range of questions into rehabilitative prosthetics.”

The municipal Entwicklungsgesellschaft Ruhr Bochum mbH (EGR) has been supporting the project since the planning phase. Paul Aschenbrenner, Managing Director of the EGR is convinced: “The healthcare business is a key sector for the economic development of Bochum. We can see prosthetics provides a lot of potential for the future of this location which is why we actively support technology transfer platforms such as SNAP.”


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