Navigation Links
University of Houston researchers helping Pentagon build mind-controlled prosthetics
Date:1/11/2011

University of Houston researchers are helping the Pentagon build reliable mind-controlled prosthetic devices that military and civilian amputees can use the rest of their lives.

Prosthetic limbs that can be maneuvered by neural implants have shown promise in the laboratory, but there are challenges to making them work in the real world. Chief among these obstacles is the neural implants' nearly inevitable failure over time, often in a matter of weeks.

Badrinath "Badri" Roysam, chair of UH's department of electrical and computer engineering and Hugh and Lillie Cranz Cullen University Professor, is leading a multi-institution team effort to identify the combination of factors that cause neural implants to fail.

Roysam and his group have received a three-year, $5.4 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the military's high-tech research agency. Researchers from Seattle Children's Research Institute, the University of Michigan, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and two companies also are involved in the project.

The grant is part of DARPA's Histology for Interface Stability Over Time program, which is the next phase of its Revolutionizing Prosthetics project that began in 2000. The grant money is allocated in two phases, with $3.2 million being awarded immediately and the remaining $2.2 million being awarded based on performance.

Roysam said neural implants can fail within six to eight weeks. Once implanted, the brain treats these tiny devices like foreign objects and immediately begins to try to isolate them for its own protection.

"The tissue surrounding the device undergoes complex changes that in the end isolate it electrically. At this point, it (the implant) stops functioning," Roysam said. Researchers understand the fundamentals of the brain's reaction to the implants, but they still have many questions that Roysam's team will seek to answer.

The work begins in Michigan, where a team led by professor Daryl Kipke will build specialized neural implants for use in laboratory testing. Researchers at the Seattle institute, under the direction of William Shain, will take three-dimensional images of how different brain cells are reacting to an implant. Shain's lab is a world leader in multispectral laser scanning confocal microscopy, an imaging technique that produces high-resolution three-dimensional images of brain tissue, with each different type of tissue and cell assigned a unique color.

Those images will be transmitted to UH, where Roysam's team will run them through a sophisticated and powerful software platform called FARSIGHT, which will analyze the histology, or cellular makeup, of the images. Developed by a collaborative team led by Roysam with the support of the National Institutes of Health, FARSIGHT will translate these images into data that quantifies the response of each individual brain cell and cell type to the implant.

RPI researchers Kristin Bennett and Mark Embrechts will then use advanced pattern recognition software and techniques to identify the factors that cause implants to fail prematurely.

Using this information, they will recommend design changes to researchers in Michigan, restarting the whole process.

Roysam, who joined UH last year after working as professor of electrical, computer and systems engineering and professor of biomedical engineering at RPI, noted that each contributing group is a world leader in its respective field.

"I am blessed with a dream team," he said. "We have pre-eminent leaders in implant design, 3-D multispectral imaging, quantitative histology, and pattern recognition on our team. Ideally, the team will be able to make great strides in the understanding of neural implant failure."

"DARPA has a vision of a future where a soldier who has lost a limb will regain full use of that limb again through advanced technology. We're proud to be part of this effort, which will also benefit civilians," he said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Laura Tolley
ljtolley@uh.edu
713-743-0778
University of Houston
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Rice University establishes National Corrosion Center
2. Case Western Reserve University researchers track Chernobyl fallout
3. Case Western Reserve University project ties soil conservation and river management together
4. Brown University and Women & Infants Hospital expand national childrens study to Bristol County
5. NIH selects Case Western Reserve University to participate in National Childrens Study
6. US Senate confirms Clemson University engineering Dean Esin Gulari to National Science Board
7. University professor stresses links between US Navy sonar and whale strandings
8. Scent on demand: Hebrew University scientists enhance the scent of flowers
9. University success at national engineering awards
10. University of Leicester professor adds new perspective to rainforest debate
11. Providing toilets, safe water is top route to reducing world poverty: UN University
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/17/2016)...  AIC announces that it has just released a new white paper authored by ... plus high speed data transfer storage solutions. Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161116/440463 ... ... ... Setting up a high performance computing or HPC system can ...
(Date:11/14/2016)... CLARA, Calif. , Nov. 14, 2016 ... the biometric identification market, Frost & Sullivan ... Frost & Sullivan Award for Visionary Innovation ... player in the biometric identification market by ... multi-modal verification solution for instant, seamless, and ...
(Date:6/21/2016)... 2016 NuData Security announced today that Randy ... principal product architect and that Jon Cunningham ... development. Both will report directly to Christopher ... reflect NuData,s strategic growth in its product and ... demand and customer focus values. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2016)... TORONTO , Nov. 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - Portage ... Canadian Securities Exchange: PBT.U), is excited to announce ... company focused on developing preclinical ophthalmology assets through ... a potent anti-inflammatory created by Portage Pharmaceuticals Limited ... patients with ocular surface and anterior segment diseases. ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... , Nov. 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -  Equicare Health ... solutions, has been recognized as one of the top ... an annual international listing that distinguishes the top digital ... pushed a great step forward this year continually upgrading ... our own customer base and team," says Len ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... 2016   Merck , ein führendes ... einer Reihe von Vereinbarungen mit Evotec AG ... Screeningleistungen für Mercks Palette genetischer Reagenzien wie ... diese Bibliotheken in Kombination mit Evotecs Expertise ... zur Ermittlung und Erforschung neuer Arzneimitteltargets.    ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... ... November 30, 2016 , ... SSCI, the established leader in small-molecule cocrystal ... the latest FDA guidance on pharmaceutical cocrystals as drug substance . The ... , The event follows the successful November 15th event that took place in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: