Dear Friends and Colleagues,
More than 100 years ago, in the midst of raging war in the heart of Europe, a team of surgeons, physicians, engineers, and prosthetists gathered to jointly develop the first muscle driven prosthesis with proprioceptive feedback! The tremendous need to provide support and assistance to the numerous men who suffered limb loss during World War I focussed the efforts of these disciplines, and led to “Muscle Tunnel Cineplasty”. After this tremendous success, Ferdinand Sauerbruch stated “that henceforth surgeon, physiologist, technician, prosthetist and engineer will have to work together” (See Literary Digest, August 26, 1916, page 453), a quote that led Dudley Childress to consider him the founding father of rehabilitation engineering.
Today, each of the mentioned specialties have made tremendous advances, now offering amazing possibilities in restoring function after limb loss. Surgically we can tap into neural circuitries, transfer nerves and muscles, and provide direct skeletal anchorage, connecting mechatronics with the human body. We can decode neural signals and provide algorithms for smooth, intuitive control of mechatronic devices that in some respect excel the original. There is now a global surge of interest and collaborations, and I believe that we can soon expect major breakthroughs toward feedback driven prosthetic function, both for the upper and lower extremity.
This symposium shall bring together key players of Industry, Medicine, Therapy, Engineering, Surgery, Rehabilitation, Prosthetics and R&D to explore one another’s worlds, deepen our collaborations, and merge efforts to restore function after limb loss. The format of the symposium will allow much room for discussion, will provide opportunity to learn from the best through a number of keynotes and hands-on workshops. The social program aims to foster an environment of “easy access”, to mix and enjoy one another’s company in the Palmenhaus, the Emperor’s private garden, and the vineyards of the beautiful City of Vienna.
I will do my best to make this 2nd international IASPT Symposium a most memorable scientific, social and cultural experience for you, and look forward to hosting you in Vienna in May 2018!
President of the IASPT 2018