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Research Projects

Controlling a Dexterous Hand From Neural Signals

Controlling a Dexterous Hand From Neural SignalsWe currently are exploring dexterous control of an avatar hand through a brain-computer interface. To address the challenge of controlling the complexity of the hand, we emphasize a variety of approaches beyond fixed, linear decoding of neural activity.

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Multidimensional intracortical microstimulation to inject information into the brain.

Multidimensional intracortical microstimulation to inject information into the brain.Intracortical microstimulation (ICMS) can be used to deliver information into the nervous system. We are exploring means of using ICMS to inject instructional cues and to provide feedback for closed-loop control of brain-machine interfaces.

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Reach, Grasp, and Manipulation

Reach, Grasp, and ManipulationThe hand often is used for manipulating an object, but much more is known about how the nervous system controls the reach and grasp that typically precedes manipulation. We are exploring the neural and muscular activity underlying manipulation, and how that relates to the activity that controls the preceding reach and grasp.

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Variation in the throughput from single cortico-motoneuronal cells to electromyographic activity

Variation in the throughput from single cortico-motoneuronal cells to electromyographic activityCertain neurons in the primary motor cortex make direct, monosynaptic connections to spinal motoneurons that drive hand and finger muscles. One might think that these constant connections to motoneurons would provide a constant throughput from the cortical neuron to muscle activity. Previously, however, we found that such throughput can change rapidly. Now we are investigating factors that might produce such rapid changes.

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Dimensionality reduction in the cortico-muscular system controlling the hand

Dimensionality reduction in the cortico-muscular system controlling the handAlthough the hand has 16 joints that provide 23 degrees-of-freedom (DOFs), in most hand movements these joints/DOFs do not move independently. Because multiple joints move together, such as the bending of all three joints of a finger at the same time, descriptive analysis can reduce most of the hand’s motion to far less than 23 DOFs. But does the nervous system actually make use of such reduced dimensionality in controlling real hand movements?

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