Speakers include Miguel Nicolelis (Duke University):
Miguel Nicolelis is best known for his pioneering work in "reading monkey thought". He and his colleagues implanted electrode arrays into a monkey's brain that were able to detect the monkey's motor intent and thus able to control reaching and grasping movements performed by a robotic arm. This was possible by decoding signals of hundreds of neurons recorded in volitional areas of the cerebral cortex while the monkey played with a hand-held joystick to move a shape in a video game. These signals were sent to the robot arm, which then mimicked the monkey's movements and thus controlled the game. After a while the monkey realized that thinking about moving the shape was enough and it no longer needed to move the joystick. So it let go of the joystick and controlled the game purely through thought. A system in which brain signals directly control an artificial actuator is commonly referred to as brain-machine interface or brain-computer interface.
In this talk, I will review a series of recent experiments demonstrating the possibility of using real-time computational models to investigate how ensembles of neurons encode motor information. These experiments have revealed that brain-machine interfaces can be used not only to study fundamental aspects of neural ensemble physiology, but they can also serve as an experimental paradigm aimed at testing the design of modern neuroprosthetic devices. I will also describe evidence indicating that continuous operation of a closed-loop brain machine interface, which utilizes a robotic arm as its main actuator, can induce significant changes in the physiological properties of neurons located in multiple motor and sensory cortical areas. This raises the hypothesis of whether the properties of a robot arm, or any other tool, can be assimilated by neuronal representations as if they were simple extensions of the subject's own body.
And, Niels Birbaumer:
Birbaumer’s research focuses on neuronal plasticity and learning; Neurophysiological communication systems for motor paralysis (Brain-Computer-Interface); Behavioral medicine of epilepsy, Parkinson's disease; Amyotrohpic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and pain: Slow cortical potentials and psychological processes; Analysis and modification of anxiety and antisocial behavior; Self-regulation of electrical and magnetic and metabolic brain processes; Psychophysiology and behavior modification of chronic pain states; Neuropsychology of musical talent; Neural network models of brain activity, cognitive processes and non-linear dynamics; Functional Magnetic Resonance (fMRI) and learning; Magnetoencephalography (MEG) of cognitive and emotional processes, fetal brain processes and behavior; diabetes and brain processes.
Titel: Complete Silence: Brain-Computer-Interfaces and Paralysis
Abstract:The presentation summarizes recent work on the application of Brain Computer interfaces in Paralysis, Locked-In Syndrome and chronic stroke. Reasons for problems of brain communication in completely locked in patients are given and new data to solve the problem of "extinction of goal directed thinking" are discussed. The surprisingly good results in chronic stroke and movement restoration will be presented.Future applications of fMRI-BCI in psychiatry, neurology and psychology are illustrated with data from our lab.
[Prefer Android & She-borg for title!]