INOPRO – Intelligent Orthotics and Prosthetics

  • Project team:

    Coenen, Christopher (Project leader ITAS); Martina Baumann (Project coordinator ITAS), Silvia Woll, Maria João Maia

  • Funding:


  • Start date:


  • End date:


  • Project partners:

    Otto Bock HealthCare GmbH; Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg; University Medical Center Göttingen; Makea Industries GmbH; Eckerle Industrie-Elektronik GmbH; Plettenberg Elektromotoren GmbH & Co. KG; Sanitätshaus Bielefeld GmbH; CorTec GmbH; KIT: Institute for Anthropomatics and Robotics (High Performance Humanoid Technologies Lab, H²T)

  • Research group:

    Life, Innovation, Health, and Technology

Project description

INOPRO is one of two new BMBF innovation clusters involving partners from industry (small and medium enterprises), academia and the healthcare sector that aim to develop highly innovative intelligent prostheses, orthotics, interactive micro-implants and other medical products. INOPRO will investigate ways to produce intelligent prostheses and orthotics that actively adapt to user needs, help improve quality of life and enable intuitive communication between device and user. To these ends, the systems to be developed must be capable of adapting to the behavior of the user and the environment. Simpler and more intuitive control, combined with sensory feedback and active assistance to compensate for lost abilities, should increase user safety and confidence. Lightweight, comfortable and low-noise systems with an appealing, anthropomorphic appearance will be used to give the prosthetic limbs an even more natural look and feel.

Within the INOPRO consortium, ITAS is responsible for its own cross-cutting project (“ELSI of Intelligent Orthotics and Prosthetics”), a work package that is linked directly to the coordination of the overall project and will be pursued in close cooperation with all sub-projects, including one led by the High Performance Humanoid Technologies (H²T) Lab at KIT’s Institute for Anthropomatics and Robotics (IAR). The ITAS work package is intended primarily to identify, analyze and give practical consideration to the ethical, legal and societal implications (ELSI) of the research and development conducted in the overall project. Besides questions of applied ethics with respect to the individual and society (e.g. questions of distributive justice and equity of supply), the ITAS work package will focus on further aspects of technology assessment and responsible research and innovation, such as user acceptance and cultural and socioeconomic aspects. In this respect, the ways in which the body is perceived, both by the users themselves and by others, and the manner in which prostheses are incorporated into everyday life are relevant, as are the ways in which society perceives prostheses and physical handicaps. With a view to obtaining a comprehensive understanding of ELSI, the results of all kinds of different research fields and disciplines – e.g. medical ethics, law, rehabilitation sciences, disability studies, health technology assessment and various social, cultural and policy studies – will be taken into account with respect to the topics of the overall project.


Book Chapters
Baumann, M. F.
Diversitätsbotschafter:innen, Kämpfer:innen, Cyborgs? Prothesenträger:innen in deutschen Print- und Online-Medien
2023. Medizin- und Pflegeethik in den Medien. Hrsg.: K.W. Schmidt, 67–86, Königshausen und Neumann 
Coenen, C.
Über uns hinauswachsen – eine Einführung in Human Enhancement
2023. Beyond Human : Neue Möglichkeiten für Körper und Geist (2023), Linz, Austria, November 21, 2023 
Sontheimer, V.; Baumann, M. F.; Kellmeyer, P.; Kubosch, E. J.
Querschnittsstudie zur Evaluation der Versorgungslandschaft Deutschland: Sport nach Amputation der unteren Extremität
2023. 38. GOTS Jahreskongress (2023), Luxembourg, Luxembourg, June 15–17, 2023 
Sontheimer, V.; Kellmeyer, P.; Baumann, M. F.; Kubosch, E. J.
Querschnittsstudie zur Patientenzufriedenheit nach Extremitätenamputation
2023. 71. Jahrestagung der Vereinigung Süddeutscher Orthopäden und Unfallchirurgen (2023), Baden-Baden, Germany, April 27–29, 2023 
Baumann, M.; Coenen, C.
Nutzerpartizipation in der Pro- und Orthetik
2022. Jahreskongress des ISPO Deutschland e.V., Orthopädische Universitätsklinik in Heidelberg (2022), Heidelberg, Germany, June 2–3, 2022 Full textFull text of the publication as PDF document
Conference Papers
Coenen, C.; Stieglitz, T.
Neurotech-Ethics: Suggestions for the Way Forward
2021. 2021 10th International IEEE/EMBS Conference on Neural Engineering (NER), 639–642, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). doi:10.1109/NER49283.2021.9441374
Coenen, C.
Die Zukunft des Körpers zwischen Selbstoptimierung und notwendiger Medizintechnik
2021. Symposium 2021: Ist Gesundheit Ansichtssache? Antworten aus Recht, Kultur, Technologie und Ethik (2021), Karlsruhe, Germany, October 13, 2021 
Coenen, C.
Die Veränderung des Gesundheitsverständnisses in Zeiten der technischen Aufrüstung des menschlichen Körpers und seine Auswirkungen auf das leibliche Selbstverständnis
2021, June 25. Fachtagung „Menschen als Datensätze? Personalisierte Medizin und Perspektiven von ‚Behinderung‘“ - Institut Mensch, Ethik und Wissenschaft (IMEW) / Katholischen Akademie Berlin (2021), Online, June 24–25, 2021 
Coenen, C.
Neurotech ethics in interdisciplinary technology assessment
2021, October 6. Annual Conference of the German Society for Biomedical Engineering (BMT 2021), Hanover, Germany, October 5–7, 2021 
Maia, M. J.; Nierling, L.; Coenen, C.; Fleischer, T.; Heil, R.; Jahnel, J.; König, H.; Orwat, C.
Research on AI at ITAS
2021. Helmholtz Artificial Intelligence Conference (Helmholtz AI 2021), Online, April 14–15, 2021 Full textFull text of the publication as PDF document
Book Chapters
Coenen, C.
Die Mensch-Maschine als Utopie
2019. Mensch-Maschine-Interaktion : Handbuch zu Geschichte - Kultur - Ethik. Hrsg.: K. Liggieri, 71–80, J.B. Metzler. doi:10.1007/978-3-476-05604-7_10
Baumann, M.; Maia, M. J. F.
Improving access to arm and leg prosthesis in Germany - Perspectives from HTA and RRI
2019. 4. Internationale TA-Konferenz (2019), Bratislava, Slovakia, November 4–6, 2019 
Coenen, C.
Was ist der “optimierte Mensch”? Eine Antwort aus den Projekten FUTUREBODY und INOPRO
2019. Deutsch-Amerikanischen Institut (DAI 2019), Heidelberg, Germany, November 27, 2019 
Baumann, M.; Frank, D.
Ethical and societal issues of anticipatory machine learning applications
2018. 10th Annual S.NET Meeting (2018), Maastricht, Netherlands, June 25–27, 2018 
Coenen, C.
Mensch-Maschine-Entgrenzungen: Technikentwicklung und gesellschaftliche Fragen
2018. Fachforum Geisteswissenschaften 2018 der Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung (2018), Utting am Ammersee, Germany, February 16–18, 2018 
Coenen, C.
Emerging medical technology in politics and society
2018. Lübeck Summer Academy on Medical Technology (LSA 2018), Lübeck, Germany, July 4, 2018 
Coenen, C.; Baumann, M.; Frank, D.
User and societal acceptance of prostheses
2018. 52nd Annual Conference of the German Society for Biomedical Engineering (DGBMT within VDE) (BMT 2018), Aachen, Germany, September 26–28, 2018 
Coenen, C.
Intelligente Prothetik: Ethische, soziale und regulatorische Aspekte
2017. Tagung für Reha-Management und Berufshilfe der Deutschen Gesetzlichen Unfallversicherung, Isny, 25.Oktober 2017 


Dipl.-Pol. Christopher Coenen
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-24559