BME Seminar Series: Cognitive Factors that Shape Neural Prosthetic Control

Tuesday, February 2, 2016
8:30 a.m.

River Campus | Robert B. Goergen Hall | Sloan Auditorium (room 101)

Speaker: Steven M. Chase, Ph.D., Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition and Department of Biomedical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University 

Brain-computer interfaces map the activity of dozens to hundreds of neurons to the control of a device, like a cursor on a computer screen or a robotic arm.  By creating a direct link between brain and machine, they hold promise as a breakthrough technology for alleviating paralysis due to stroke, disease, or injury.  Although it is well known that the brain can change as subjects learn, most approaches to the design of these devices treat the system as static: parameters are assumed to be fixed, and results from off-line analyses are assumed to translate to on-line control.  In this talk, I will focus on our efforts to understand the cognitive factors involved in neural prosthetic control.  In particular, I will discuss our experiments probing how subjects adaptively shape their neural activity to better control a prosthetic device, and I discuss a new approach to the design of decoding algorithms that can leverage the brain’s ability to learn.