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Centre for Neurotechnology seminar from Lee Miller
Professor of Neuroscience, Northwestern University
In pursuit of a universal, biomimetic iBCI decoder: Exploring the manifold representations of action in the motor cortex
Abstract: My group pioneered the development of a novel intracortical brain computer interface (iBCI) that decodes muscle activity (EMG) from signals recorded in the motor cortex of animals. We use these synthetic EMG signals to control Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES), which causes the muscles to contract and thereby restores rudimentary voluntary control of the paralyzed limb. In the past few years, there has been much interest in the fact that information from the millions of neurons active during movement can be reduced to a small number of “latent” signals in a low-dimensional manifold computed from the multiple neuron recordings. These signals can be used to provide a stable prediction of the animal’s behavior over many months-long periods, and they may also provide the means to implement methods of transfer learning across individuals, an application that could be of particular importance for paralyzed human users. We have begun to examine the representation within this latent space, of a broad range of behaviors, including well-learned, stereotyped movements in the lab, and more natural movements in the animal’s home cage, meant to better represent a person’s daily activities. We intend to develop an FES-based iBCI that will restore voluntary movement across a broad range of motor tasks without need for intermittent recalibration. However, the nonlinearities and context dependence within this low-dimensional manifold present significant challenges.
Bio: Lee E. Miller is a Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience in the Departments of Neuroscience, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University. He was inducted into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering in 2016 and is the current president of the Society for the Neural Control of Movement. Dr. Miller has had a career-long interest in the brain’s control of arm and hand movement, which he has studied using both psychophysical and EMG experiments in humans, and single neuron recordings from behaving animals. In the past decade, his lab has increasingly focused on translational research, including the use of brain computer interfaces designed to mimic the function of the intact nervous system in an effort to restore movement and sensation to spinal cord injured patients.
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