We will investigate feasibility of establishing communication in people with Locked-In Syndrome via a fully implantable Brain-Computer Interface system. The goal is to test the system in 3-5 people, and to enable them to click through menus in computer programs, by thinking of a particular hand movement, or by counting backwards. The research is conducted with support from Medtronic and is funded with a national grant from STW.
In iCONNECT we investigate feasibility of decoding sign language and inner speech from brain activity patterns. Goal is to develop an implantable Brain-Computer Interface system for people with Locked-In Syndrome with which they can control a speech computer for communication. The research is funded an ERC Advanced Grant awarded to Nick Ramsey.
A consortium of 12 partners from academia, industry and healthcare have composed a Roadmap for development and application of Brain-Computer Interface technology in the European arena. The roadmap will serve decision making in allocation of research funds of the EU in Horizon 2020. The project is funded by the EU, and is headed by Graz University. Please find more at: http://bnci-horizon-2020.eu/ and you may find the roadmap here: BNCI roadmap
One of the main goals of the research program is to elucidate the neural substrates of human brain functions, for which we use techniques to measure brain activity patterns. To fully appreciate cortical activity patterns one needs to measure at the detail of ensembles. We apply state of the art functional MRI, at 7 Tesla, and Electrocorticography with high-density electrode grids implanted under the skull. Functions of particular interest are language, cognitive control, movement, visual perception, and sensory attention. Research is funded by various national grants and by the UMC.
Functional MRI is increasingly included in planning for neurosurgical operations, mostly for removal of a tumor, or of the source of seizures in epilepsy. fMRI can provide locations of important brain areas that need to be spared. Due to complexity in acquiring and evaluating fMRI data, very few hospitals have the capability to perform clinical fMRI. BrainCarta is a spin-off company from the UMC that will enable radiology departments to provide functional MRI scans to neurologists and neurosurgeons even without specialists on site. Goal is to improve chances of tumor patients to early surgical removal, by increasing availability of fMRI in surgical decision making. The start up is funded in part with a Valorisation Phase 2 grant (equal to an SBIR grant) from STW.
In May 2015 a Proof of Concept grant from the ERC was awarded for initiating development of a fully implantable neuroprosthetic device for moinitoring brain function. In ‘NeMoFoil’ a protoptype implant will be designed and created, as well as a business and market plan. Aim is to attract commercial interest in further development and/or to optimize opportunities for obtaining further funding for development.
Non-invasive imaging methods such as fMRI are indirect, measuring metabolic changes associated with brain activity, rather than the brain activity itself. To better understand how the human brain works, we need to better understand how indirect measurements relate to neuronal activity. In this project, we aim to improve our understanding by relating fMRI measurements directly to electrocorticography, optical and non-invasive electrical methods, at very high resolutions. Relationships between measures will be captured with mathematical models that link brain circuits to non-invasive imaging, and bridge carefully controlled activation paradigms between the human brain and animal models. With these models the quality of the non-invasive methods can be greatly enhanced, providing scientists with advanced tools to discover how our brain works.
Abnormal function of the fronto-striatal network is implicated in multiple psychiatric disorders. New methods to correct abnormal function are needed. As part of a large consortium we investigate whether real-time feedback of one node of the network (dorsolateral prefrontal cortex), enables people to regulate function of the whole network. Both Electrocorticography and 7 Tesla fMRI are employed. Funded by the Dutch Ministry of Education and Science, within the HCMI program. [2010-2015]