The Clinic of Neurology at the Otto-von-Guericke University (Magdeburg, Germany) has attained international recognition for its neurophysiological research on cognitive function, motor function, and perception, in clinical and non-clinical human populations. The clinic is excellently equipped with research dedicated imaging hardware for MEG, EEG, and (real time) fMRI recordings providing an optimal infrastructure for BMI-research. Researchers at the clinic for Neurology have strong expertise in signal processing and cutting edge single trial data and network analysis methods (Chang, Rieger et al. 2010 Nature Neuroscience, Hanke et al. 2009 Frontiers in Neuroinformatics , Sun et al. 2009 NeuroImage, Rieger et al. 2008 NeuroImage, Hinrichs et al. 2008 NeuroImage,). Importantly, the Clinic of Neurology includes a stroke unit, and is tightly connected to several neural rehabilitation centers. This ensures access to patients and infrastructure necessary for the future development of the system projected
What motivates us
Human Brain-Machine-Interfacing (BMI) research so far has focused on controlling cursor movements in two or three dimensions or the degrees of freedom of very simple prosthetic devices. The limited information rate decodable from non-invasively measured brain activity proved to be a major bottleneck in the development of more motor BMIs enabling a patient to perform more complex everyday tasks such as grasping objects. With this project we propose a major paradigm shift: We aim to overcome the limitations in online controlling an arm prosthesis with many degrees of freedom by developing an intelligent prosthesis able to perform the fine control of a complex grasping task autonomously. The strategic collaboration between Fraunhofer IFF and the clinic of Neurology in this ECHORD project will provide the interdisciplinary expertise required to successfully implement a robotic device for brain controlled grasping of objects.