Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Brain prostheses create a sense of touch: Infrared signaling could create sense of touch in artificial limbs

Date:
February 17, 2013
Source:
Duke University
Summary:
Infrared sensing might be built into a whole-body prosthesis for paraplegics so patients wearing the "exoskeleton" could have sensory information about where their limbs are and how objects feel when they touch them.

Adult rats can learn to perceive otherwise invisible infrared light through a neuroprosthesis that couples the output of a head-mounted infrared sensor to their somatosensory cortex (S1) via intracortical microstimulation.
Credit: Image courtesy of Nicolelis Lab, Duke University

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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal References:

  1. Eric E. Thomson, Rafael Carra, Miguel A.L. Nicolelis. Perceiving invisible light through a somatosensory cortical prosthesis. Nature Communications, 2013; 4: 1482 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2497
  2. Joseph E. O’Doherty, Mikhail A. Lebedev, Peter J. Ifft, Katie Z. Zhuang, Solaiman Shokur, Hannes Bleuler, Miguel A. L. Nicolelis. Active tactile exploration using a brain–machine–brain interface. Nature, 2011; 479 (7372): 228 DOI: 10.1038/nature10489
  3. L. E. Medina, M. A. Lebedev, J. E. O'Doherty, M. A. L. Nicolelis. Stochastic Facilitation of Artificial Tactile Sensation in Primates. Journal of Neuroscience, 2012; 32 (41): 14271 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3115-12.2012
  4. Peter J. Ifft, Mikhail A. Lebedev, Miguel A. L. Nicolelis. Reprogramming movements: extraction of motor intentions from cortical ensemble activity when movement goals change. Frontiers in Neuroengineering, 2012; 5 DOI: 10.3389/fneng.2012.00016

Cite This Page:

Duke University. "Brain prostheses create a sense of touch: Infrared signaling could create sense of touch in artificial limbs." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130217084121.htm>.
Duke University. (2013, February 17). Brain prostheses create a sense of touch: Infrared signaling could create sense of touch in artificial limbs. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130217084121.htm
Duke University. "Brain prostheses create a sense of touch: Infrared signaling could create sense of touch in artificial limbs." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130217084121.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Inbox Is The Latest Gmail Competitor

Google's Inbox Is The Latest Gmail Competitor

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — Google's new e-mail app is meant for greater personalization and allows users to better categorize their mail, but Gmail isn't going away just yet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Free Math App Is A Teacher's Worst Nightmare

Free Math App Is A Teacher's Worst Nightmare

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — New photo-recognition software from MicroBlink, called PhotoMath, solves linear equations and simple math problems with step-by-step results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins