Special NE Seminar: José del R. Millán, Brain-Machine Interfaces: Dec 18

Neural Engineering Journal Club/Speaker Friday (Dec 18th) at 1 PM. Location is the new CCNY building, 3rd floor conference room Directions here

Brain-Machine Interfaces: The Perception-Action Closed Loop

Dr. José del R. Millán


Future neuroprosthetics will be tightly coupled with the user in such a way that the resulting system can replace and restore impaired upper limb functions because controlled by the same neural signals than their natural counterparts. However, robust and natural interaction of subjects with sophisticated prostheses over long periods of time remains a major challenge. To tackle this challenge we can get inspiration from natural motor control, where goal-directed behavior is dynamically modulated by perceptual feedback resulting from executed actions.

Current brain-computer interfaces (BCI) partly emulate human motor control as they decode cortical correlates of movement parameters –from onset of a movement to directions to instantaneous velocity– in order to generate the sequence of movements for the neuroprosthesis. A closer look, though, shows that motor control results from the combined activity of the cerebral cortex, subcortical areas and spinal cord. This hierarchical organization supports the hypothesis that complex behaviours can be controlled using the low-dimensional output of a BCI in conjunction with intelligent devices in charge to perform low-level commands.

A further component that will facilitate intuitive and natural control of motor neuroprosthetics is the incorporation of rich multimodal feedback and neural correlates of perceptual processes resulting from this feedback. As in natural motor control, these sources of information can dynamically modulate interaction.

Bio: José del R. Millán is the Defitech Professor at the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) where he explores the use of brain signals for multimodal interaction and, in particular, the development of non-invasive brain-controlled robots and neuroprostheses. In this multidisciplinary research effort, Dr. Millán is bringing together his pioneering work on the two fields of brain-machine interfaces and adaptive intelligent robotics. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from the Univ. Politècnica de Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain) in 1992. His research on brain-machine interfaces was nominated finalist of the European Descartes Prize 2001 and he has been named Research Leader 2004 by the journal Scientific American for his work on brain-controlled robots. He is the recipient of the IEEE-SMC Nobert Wiener Award 2011 for his seminal and pioneering contributions to non-invasive brain-machine interfaces. Dr. Millán has coordinated a number of European projects on brain-machine interfaces.

Neural Engineering