NEUROSCI 101 Lecture Notes - Lecture 15: Lily Safra, Miguel Nicolelis, Neurorehabilitation

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17 May 2016
Brain Machine Interfaces: Basic Science to Neurological Rehabilitation
Dr. Miguel Nicolelis
Center for Neuroengineering, Duke University
Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute of Neuroscience of Natal, Brazil
Problem with neuroscience: only recording one neuron at a time, need to study how the
billions of neurons (10 billion) interact
100 neurons recorded of a monkey’s hand grasping movements
Recording sensors used in machines that can be implanted in brain tissue, 3D printed,
made with microfilaments
Able to record action potentials via hairlike filaments placed b/w cells
Created Brain Machine Interface: links living brain tissue to devices with wireless control
so that brain activity can control anywhere this device is located
Ex. monkey studied in Durham able to control robot arms in Japan
Moore’s Law for number of neurons studied simultaneously!!! Same as what we
discussed regarding computer chips and storage!!!
Record premotor, motor, somatosensory cortexes activities.
Experimental approach:
Designed BMI to strap a monkey to a recording machine and toggle a lever to hit
a flashing circle.
Brain control can be achieved even without arm movements
Directional tuning of cortical neurons during BMI operations
These cortical neurons are what allow us to encode for directions we move arms
Compared hand control joystick vs brain-only control joystick
Brain-only cells are not supposed to have same spikes as joystick tuned
arm, but the monkey’s view of the robotic arm playing the game fires the
same impulses
Similar to the rubber hand experiment, where subjects get one hand
brushed and look at a rubber hand on the other side. Over time they feel
like the sensation on the rubber hand is their actual hand. Just like
monkey experiences the robotic arm as their own.
S1, M1 are experiencing a visual cue, which is explained by transforming
somatosensory cortex into visual cortex
Ex. experiment with rats exposed to infrared light, the rats used visual cortex to
track infrared light and therefore their cortical structures displayed plasticity
Asked monkeys to find rough texture sandpaper from smooth, medium and rough
virtual textures (coded with frequencies)
Cortical neuroprosthesis to restore motor functions
Scientific American listed “making a paraplegic human use a brain computer interface to
walk” as an impossible scientific task
Needed to modulate standing in paraplegic patients: sitting, standing with restraints,
walking on treadmill, free walking with robotic exoskeleton
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