Navigation Links
Brain prostheses create a sense of touch
Date:2/16/2013

BOSTON, MA -- Rats can't usually see infrared light, but they have "touched" it in a Duke University lab.

The rats sensed the light as a sensation of touch after Duke neurobiologist Miguel Nicolelis and his team fitted the animals with an infrared detector wired to electrodes implanted in the part of the mammalian brain that processes information related to the sense of touch.

One of the main flaws of current human, brain-controlled prosthetics is that patients cannot sense the texture of what they touch, Nicolelis said. His goal is to give quadriplegics not only the ability to move their limbs again, but also to sense the texture of objects placed in their hands or experience the nuances of the terrain under their feet.

His lab studies how to connect brain cells with external electrodes for brain-machine interfaces and neural prosthetics in human patients and non-human primates, giving them the ability to control limbs, both real and virtual, using only their minds. He and his team have shown that monkeys, without moving any part of their real bodies, could use their electrical brain activity to guide the virtual hands of an avatar to touch virtual objects and recognize their simulated textures.

His latest study, published Feb. 12 in Nature Communications, shows that the rats' cortexes respond both to the simulated sense of touch created by the infrared light sensors and to whisker touch, as if the cortex is dividing itself evenly so that the brain cells process both types of information.

This plasticity of the brain counters the current "optogenetic" approach to brain stimulation, which suggests that a particular neuronal cell type should be stimulated to generate a desired neurological function. Instead, stimulating a broader range of cell types might help a cortical region adapt to new sensory sources, Nicolelis said.

His team recently documented the firing patterns of nearly 2,000 individual, interconnected neurons in monkeys. Recording the electrical activity from thousands of neurons at once is important for improving the accuracy and performance of neuroprosthetic devices, he said.

This brain-machine interface work is all part of an international effort called the Walk Again Project to build a whole-body exoskeleton that could help paralyzed people regain motor and sensory abilities using brain activity to control the apparatus. He and his collaborators expect to first use the exoskeleton in the opening ceremony of the FIFA Soccer World Cup in June 2014.

Nicolelis said infrared sensing might be built into such an exoskeleton so patients wearing the suit could have sensory information about where their limbs are and how objects feel when they touch them.

Nicolelis is a professor of neurobiology, biomedical engineering and psychology and neuroscience at Duke University. He is also founder of Duke's Center for Neuroengineering. He earned his M.D. from the University of Sao Paulo Medical School and his Ph.D. from the Institute of Biomedical Science at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil.


'/>"/>

Contact: Ashley Yeager
ashley.yeager@duke.edu
919-681-8057
Duke University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. REST is crucial for the timing of brain development
2. Holding a mirror to brain changes in autism
3. Strong scientific evidence that eating berries benefits the brain
4. The Japanese traditional therapy, honokiol, blocks key protein in inflammatory brain damage
5. Step forward in research into new treatments for brain edema
6. University of Alberta led research may have discovered how memories are encoded in our brains
7. Nanotherapy: Treating deadly brain tumors by delivering big radiation with tiny tools
8. Friendly to a fault, yet tense: Personality traits traced in brain
9. New discoveries about brain-hand connection sought to improve therapies, treatments, prosthetics
10. Autism risk gene linked to differences in brain structure
11. Amyloid beta in the brain of individuals with Alzheimers disease
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/18/2016)... SAN JOSE, Calif. , Jan. 18, 2016 ... storage security software that simplifies the use and ... a technology and go-to-market partnership with American Cyber.  ... "American Cyber brings extensive experience leading transformational C4ISR ... missions implementing and integrating the latest proven technology ...
(Date:1/13/2016)... 13, 2016 --> ... new market report titled - Biometric Sensors Market - Global ... - 2023. According to the report, the global biometric sensors market was ... to reach US$1,625.8 mn by 2023, expanding at a ... of volume, the biometric sensors market is expected to ...
(Date:1/11/2016)... 11, 2016 Synaptics Incorporated (NASDAQ: SYNA ... announced that its ClearPad ® TouchView ™ ... two separate categories in the 8 th Annual ... Technology Breakthrough. The Synaptics ® TDDI solution enables ... chain, thinner devices, brighter displays and borderless designs. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... February 09, 2016 , ... The publishing ... Open Access publishing is one of the popular publication models that has received ... journals and 3000+ International Conferences across the globe, OMICS International ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... , Feb. 9, 2016 This market research ... current and future prospects of the market in terms ... include companies engaged in the manufacture of microbiology culture ... summary with a market snapshot providing the overall information ... this report. This section also provides the overall information ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... Feb. 9, 2016 BERG, a biopharmaceutical ... research approach, has announced the appointment of ... Chief Operating Officer. Haddock brings to BERG over ... 12 years in senior financial functions at pharmaceutical ... business organizational management. Niven R. ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa. , Feb. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... place of standard bone cement products to prevent infection ... a question that the experts at ECRI Institute have ... Cement: Fighting Infection or Fighting Your Bottom Line?" ... or Fighting Your Bottom Line?" --> ...
Breaking Biology Technology: