Experimental paradigm. Subjects were instructed to perform reach-and-grasp movements to designate the locations of the target in three-dimensional space. (a) Subjects A and B were provided the visual cue as a real tennis ball at one of four pseudo-randomized locations. (b) Subjects A and B were provided the visual cue as a virtual reality clip showing a sequence of five stages of a reach-and-grasp movement. Credit: The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
by The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)
Researchers have developed a mind-reading system for decoding neural signals from the brain during arm movement. The method, described in the journal Applied Soft Computing, can be used by a person to control a robotic arm through a brain-machine interface (BMI).
A BMI is a device that translates nerve signals into commands to control a machine, such as a computer or a robotic limb. There are two main techniques for monitoring neural signals in BMIs: electroencephalography (EEG) and electrocorticography (ECoG).
The EEG exhibits signals from electrodes on the surface of the scalp and is widely employed because it is non-invasive, relatively cheap, safe and easy to use. However, the EEG has low spatial resolution and detects irrelevant neural signals, which makes it difficult to interpret the intentions of individuals from the EEG.
On the other hand, the ECoG is an invasive method that involves placing electrodes directly on the surface of the cerebral cortex below the scalp. Compared with the EEG, the ECoG can monitor neural signals with much higher spatial resolution and less background noise. However, this technique has several drawbacks.
“The ECoG is primarily used to find potential sources of epileptic seizures, meaning the electrodes are placed in different locations for different patients and may not be in the optimal regions of the brain for detecting sensory and movement signals,” explained Professor Jaeseung Jeong, a brain scientist at KAIST. “This inconsistency makes it difficult to decode brain signals to predict movements.”
Continue reading… “Decoding brain signals to control a robotic arm”