Speaker: Lee E. Miller
Title: Distinguished Professor
Institution: Northwestern University
Abstract: Development of a continuously active, wireless brain computer interface to restore mobility in spinal cord injury: Although the technology of existing Brain Computer Interfaces (BCIs), is remarkable, the vast majority require the user to be wired to stationary equipment and allow only intermittent control of a computer cursor or a disembodied robotic limb in a highly constrained setting. Furthermore, the associated control algorithms must be regularly recalibrated to compensate for a changing set of neurons recorded by the implanted electrode arrays. Working with both monkeys and rats, we have built upon new methods capable of extracting low-dimensional “latent signals” from wireless neural recordings. We use an algorithm (a “decoder”) that translates the motor cortical latent activity into real-time control signals for Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) that causes muscle contraction. We hope to develop a BCI that is stable over month-long periods, that we anticipate might ultimately restore voluntary hand use and locomotion, 24 hours a day to patients with spinal cord injury (SCI). Beyond the ability to restore voluntary limb movement, there is evidence that the tight synchrony between attempted movement and peripheral stimulation that causes that movement, may invoke mechanisms of neural plasticity that will accelerate recovery.
Biography: Lee E. Miller is a Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience in the Departments of Physiology, 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 signals generated by neurons during arm movement. In the past 10 years, his lab has increasingly focused on translational research, including the use of brain machine interfaces to restore movement and sensation to spinal cord injured patients.