Just a final reminder that at noon tomorrow, Tuesday, April 17, please come hear Duke neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis talk about his fascinating research on direct brain control of prosthetics and machines. His talk is titled “Beyond Boundaries - The New Neuroscience of Connecting Brains with Machines and How It Will Change Our Lives” and an abstract is below.
Thanks to a grant from the N.C. Biotechnology Center, American Scientist’s noontime Pizza Lunch speaker series is free and open to science journalists and science communicators of all stripes. Feel free to forward this message to anyone who might want to attend. RSVPs are required (for the slice count) to email@example.com (No need to RSVP again if you have done so already.)
Directions to Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, in RTP are here: http://www.sigmaxi.org/about/center/directions.shtml
Beyond Boundaries - The New Neuroscience of Connecting Brains with Machines and How It Will Change Our Lives
Miguel A. L. Nicolelis, MD, PhD
Duke School of Medicine Professor in Neurosciences, Depts. of Neurobiology, Biomedical Engineering, and Psychology and Neuroscience,
Co-Director, Duke Center for Neuroengineering
In this talk, I will describe how state-of-the-art research on brain-machine interfaces make it possible for the brains of primates to interact directly and in a bi-directional way with mechanical, computational and virtual devices without any interference of the body muscles or sensory organs.
I will review a series of recent experiments 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 novel 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 neural circuits in multiple motor and sensory cortical areas. This research raises the hypothesis that the properties of a robot arm, or other neurally controlled tools, can be assimilated by brain representations as if they were extensions of the subject’s own body.