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NCCR Robotics is a consortium of robotics laboratories across Switzerland, working on robots for improving the quality of life and to strengthen robotics in Switzerland and worldwide. Newsletter

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A neurorobotic platform for locomotor prosthetic development in rats and mice

  • Authors: Von Zitzewitz, Joachim; Asboth, Leonie; Fumeaux, Nicolas; Hasse, Alexander; Baud, Laetitia; Vallery, Heike; Courtine, Grégoire

Objectives. We aimed to develop a robotic interface capable of providing finely-tuned, multidirectional trunk assistance adjusted in real-time during unconstrained locomotion in rats and mice. Approach. We interfaced a large-scale robotic structure actuated in four degrees of freedom to exchangeable attachment modules exhibiting selective compliance along distinct directions. This combination allowed high-precision force and torque control in multiple directions over a large workspace. We next designed a neurorobotic platform wherein real-time kinematics and physiological signals directly adjust robotic actuation and prosthetic actions. We tested the performance of this platform in both rats and mice with spinal cord injury. Main Results. Kinematic analyses showed that the robotic interface did not impede locomotor movements of lightweight mice that walked freely along paths with changing directions and height profiles. Personalized trunk assistance instantly enabled coordinated locomotion in mice and rats with severe hindlimb motor deficits. Closed-loop control of robotic actuation based on ongoing movement features enabled real-time control of electromyographic activity in anti-gravity muscles during locomotion. Significance. This neurorobotic platform will support the study of the mechanisms underlying the therapeutic effects of locomotor prosthetics and rehabilitation using high-resolution genetic tools in rodent models.

Posted on: February 24, 2016

Workshops of the Sixth International Brain-Computer Interface Meeting: Brain-Computer Interfaces Past, Present, and Future

  • Authors: Guger, Christoph; Ziat, Mounia; Zander, Thorsten O.; Taylor, Denise; Tangermann, Michael; Soria-Frisch, Aureli; Simeral, John; Scherer, Reinhold; Rupp, Rüdiger; Ruffini, Giulio; Robinson, Douglas K.R.; Ramsey, Nick F.; Nijholt, Anton; Müller-Putz, Gernot; McFarland, Denis J.; Mattia, Donatella; Lance, Brent J.; Kindermanns, Pieter-Jan; Iturrate, Inaki; Herff, Christian; Gupta, Disha; Do, An H.; Collinger, Jennifer L.; Chavarriaga, Ricardo; Chase, Steven M.; Bleichner, Martin G.; Batista, Aaron; Anderson, Charles W.

The Sixth International Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) Meeting was held May 30-June 3rd, 2016 at the Asilomar Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, California, United States. The conference included 28 workshops covering topics in BCI and brain-machine interface research. Topics included BCI for specific populations or applications, advancing BCI research through use of specific signals or technological advances, and translational and commercial issues to bring both implanted and non-invasive BCIs to market. BCI research is growing and expanding in the breadth of its applications, the depth of knowledge it can produce, and the practical benefit it can provide both for those with physical impairments and the general public. Here we provide summaries of each workshop, illustrating the breadth and depth of BCI research and highlighting important issues and calls for action to support future research and development.

Posted on: January 5, 2017

Workshops of the Sixth International Brain–Computer Interface Meeting: brain–computer interfaces past, present, and future

  • Authors: Huggins, Jane E.; Guger, Christoph; Ziat, Mounia; Zander, Thorsten O.; Taylor, Denise; Tangermann, Michael; Soria-Frisch, Aureli; Simeral, John; Scherer, Reinhold; Rupp, Rüdiger; Ruffini, Giulio; Robinson, Douglas K. R.; Ramsey, Nick F.; Nijholt, Anton; Müller-Putz, Gernot; McFarland, Dennis J.; Mattia, Donatella; Lance, Brent J.; Kindermans, Pieter-Jan; Iturrate, Inaki; Herff, Christian; Gupta, Disha; Do, An H.; Collinger, Jennifer L.; Chavarriaga, Ricardo; Chase, Steven M.; Bleichner, Martin G.; Batista, Aaron; Anderson, Charles W.; Aarnoutse, Erik J.

Brain–computer interfaces (BCI) (also referred to as brain–machine interfaces; BMI) are, by definition, an interface between the human brain and a technological application. Brain activity for interpretation by the BCI can be acquired with either invasive or non-invasive methods. The key point is that the signals that are interpreted come directly from the brain, bypassing sensorimotor output channels that may or may not have impaired function. This paper provides a concise glimpse of the breadth of BCI research and development topics covered by the workshops of the 6th International Brain–Computer Interface Meeting.

Posted on: January 31, 2017