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NSF sponsors $18.5 million effort to create mind-machine interface
Date:7/14/2011

Daniel and Kristi Morgansen, who study animals as the basis for new flying robots; and Jeffrey Ojemann, Rajesh Rao and Eberhard Fetz, who work to detect and interpret human brain signals.

Scientists at the UW and partner institutions will work to perform mathematical analysis of the body's neural signals; design and test implanted and wearable prosthetic devices; and build new robotic systems.

The four new engineering research centers announced this month by the NSF have an increased focus on industry participation. This center's 23 industry partners include Microsoft Corp., Intel Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp.; smaller companies and startups such as Impinj Inc., NeuroSky Inc. and NeuroVista Corp.; as well as industry organizations and venture capitalists that will help turn ideas into products and companies.

Collaborators also include nonacademic research institutions such as the Allen Institute for Brain Science and the La Jolla Bioengineering Institute, and hospitals in Seattle and San Diego.

"The Engineering Research Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering will bring together university and industry researchers to establish Seattle as an education, research and commercial hub for 'neurobotics,'" said Matt O'Donnell, the UW's dean of engineering. "We have fantastic partners and a strong leadership team to accelerate innovations and help prepare students to advance the field."

The majority of the funding will support undergraduate and graduate student research. Early systems might involve remote or wearable devices that help guide rehabilitation exercises to remap brain signals and restore motor control. Ultimately, researchers hope to develop implantable prosthetics that are controlled by brain signals and include sensors that shuttle information back to wearers so they can react to their environment creating robotic systems that are truly integrated with the body's nervous system.

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Contact: Hannah Hickey
hickeyh@uw.edu
206-543-2580
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert  

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