Brain wave-reading robot might help stroke patients
From left, Gerard Francisco, José Luis Contreras-Vidal and Marcia O'Malley work with a University of Houston (UH) graduate student testing MAHI-EXO II, a robotic rehabilitation device developed at Rice and being used at TIRR Memorial Hermann to help spinal-cord-injury patients recover. In a new project, a similar device will be matched with a noninvasive neural interface under development at UH to help rehabilitate stroke survivors. Photo: Bruce French/TIRR Memorial Hermann
(Medical Xpress) -- What comes naturally to most people to think and then do is difficult for stroke patients who have lost the full use of their limbs. New research by Rice University, the University of Houston (UH) and TIRR Memorial Hermann aims to help victims recover that ability to the fullest extent possible with a $1.17 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Presidents National Robotics Initiative (NRI).
The multidisciplinary team hopes to develop and validate a noninvasive brain-machine interface (BMI) to a robotic orthotic device that is expected to innovate upper-limb rehabilitation. The new neurotechnology will interpret brain waves that let a stroke patient willingly operate an exoskeleton that wraps around the arm from the fingertips to the elbow.
Rice is developing the exoskeleton and UH the electroencephalograph-based (EEG) neural interface. The combined device will be validated by UTHealth physicians at TIRR Memorial Hermann with as many as 40 volunteer patients in the final two years of the four-year R01 award, the oldest research grant offered by NIH. The grant, funded through the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, is one of only a few projects selected by the NRI, a collaborative partnership by the NIH, National Science Foundation, NASA and the Department of Agriculture to encourage the development of the next generation of robots that will work closely with humans.
Repetitive motion has proven effective at retraining motor nerve pathways damaged by a stroke, but patients must be motivated to do the work, said principal investigator Marcia OMalley, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Rice and director of Rices Mechatronics and Haptic Interfaces Lab.
With a lot of robotics, if you want to engage the patient, the robot has to know what the patient is doing, OMalley said. If the patient tries to move, the robot has to anticipate that and help. But without sophisticated sensing, the patient has to physically move or initiate some movement.
The team led by José Luis Contreras-Vidal, director of UHs Laboratory for Noninvasive Brain-Machine Interface Systems and a professor of electrical and computer engineering, was the first to successfully reconstruct 3-D hand and walking movements from brain signals recorded in a noninvasive way using an EEG brain cap. The technology allows users to control, with their thoughts, robotic legs and below-elbow amputees to control neuroprosthetic limbs. The new project will be one of the first to design a BMI system for stroke survivors.
Initially, EEG devices will translate brain waves from healthy subjects into control outputs to operate the MAHI-EXO II robot, and then from stroke survivors who have some ability to initiate movements, to prompt the robot into action. That will allow the team to refine the EEG-robot interface before moving to a clinical population of stroke patients with no residual upper-limb function.
When set into motion, the intelligent exoskeleton will use thoughts to trigger repetitive motions and retrain the brains motor networks. An earlier version of the MAHI-EXO II developed by OMalley, already in validation trials to rehabilitate spinal-cord-injury patients at the UTHealth Motor Recovery Lab at TIRR Memorial Hermann, incorporates sophisticated feedback that allows the patient to work as hard as possible while gently assisting and sometimes resisting movement to build strength and accuracy.
The capability to harness a users intent through the EEG neural interface to control robots makes it possible to fully engage the patient during rehabilitation, Contreras-Vidal said. Putting the patient directly in the loop is expected to accelerate motor learning and improve motor performance. The EEG technology will also provide valuable real-time assessments of plasticity in brain networks due to the robot intervention critical information for reverse engineering of the brain.
The three institutions bring unique perspectives to the project, OMalley said. Rices robotic devices and UHs neural interfaces will make it possible for TIRR Memorial Hermann, led by Gerard Francisco, director of the UTHealth Motor Recovery Lab, to facilitate translational research to fast-track engineering findings into clinical practice.
This is truly an outstanding opportunity to demonstrate how various technological advances can potentially boost traditional rehabilitation therapies, said Francisco, chief medical officer of TIRR Memorial Hermann and professor and chairman of physical medicine and rehabilitation at UTHealth. What makes this initiative even more exciting is that the NRI recognized the value of our collaborative effort by awarding the R01 grant to multiple principal investigators. This project will be among the first to investigate the benefits of combined therapeutic interventions to help stroke survivors.
Provided by Rice University
- Robotics lab helps stroke patients with recovery Dec 04, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- 'RiceWrist' robot helps spinal-cord injury victim (w/ video) Apr 13, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Brain cap technology turns thought into motion Jul 27, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Predicting recovery after stroke Aug 01, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Many hands make light work: Robotic therapy to help stroke patients Dec 14, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Why is zone 1 in liver more prone to ischemic injury?
23 hours ago Hi, Is it because around central vein, there is only deoxygenated blood from the vein where as in the periphery there is hepatic artery. Also why...
How can there be villous adenoma in colon, if there are no villi there
May 22, 2013 As title suggest. Thanks :smile:
How can there be a term called "intestinal metaplasia" of stomach
May 21, 2013 Hello everyone, Ok Stomach's normal epithelium is simple columnar, now in intestinal type of adenocarcinoma of stomach it undergoes "intestinal...
Pressure-volume curve: Elastic Recoil Pressure don't make sense
May 18, 2013 From pressure-volume curve of the lung and chest wall (attached photo), I don't understand why would the elastic recoil pressure of the lung is...
If you became brain-dead, would you want them to pull the plug?
May 17, 2013 I'd want the rest of me to stay alive. Sure it's a lousy way to live but it beats being all-the-way dead. Maybe if I make it 20 years they'll...
MRI bill question
May 15, 2013 Dear PFers, The hospital gave us a $12k bill for one MRI (head with contrast). The people I talked to at the hospital tell me that they do not...
- More from Physics Forums - Medical Sciences
More news stories
By discovering the new mechanism by which estrogen suppresses lipid synthesis in the liver, UC Irvine endocrinologists have revealed a potential new approach toward treating certain liver diseases.
Medical research 12 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Aortic arch pulse wave velocity, a measure of arterial stiffness, is a strong independent predictor of disease of the vessels that supply blood to the brain, according to a new study published in the June issue the journal ...
Medical research 12 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Since the discovery of Prontosil in 1932, sulfonamide antibiotics have been used to combat a wide spectrum of bacterial infections, from acne to chlamydia and pneumonia. However, their side effects can include serious neurological ...
Medical research 14 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health report they have discovered in mouse studies that a small molecule released in the spinal cord triggers a process that is later experienced in the brain as ...
Medical research 14 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
Spanish researchers have discovered that the daily clearance of neutrophils from the body stimulates the release of hematopoietic stem cells from the bone marrow into the bloodstream, according to a report published today ...
Medical research 15 hours ago | 5 / 5 (2) | 0
(Medical Xpress)—Regulating the distribution of power in neurons is done by a system that makes the national electric grid look simple by comparison. Each neuron has several thousand mitochondria confined ...
10 hours ago | 4.8 / 5 (5) | 0 |
A brief visual task can predict IQ, according to a new study. This surprisingly simple exercise measures the brain's unconscious ability to filter out visual movement. The study shows that individuals whose ...
16 hours ago | 4.5 / 5 (10) | 1 |
Teams of highly respected Alzheimer's researchers failed to replicate what appeared to be breakthrough results for the treatment of this brain disease when they were published last year in the journal Science.
14 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 2 |
Little is known about why asthma develops, how it constricts the airway or why response to treatments varies between patients. Now, a team of researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College, Columbia University Medical Center ...
14 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Ethnic background plays a surprisingly large role in how diabetes develops on a cellular level, according to two new studies led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
12 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Cinnamon: Can the red-brown spice with the unmistakable fragrance and variety of uses offer an important benefit? The common baking spice might hold the key to delaying the onset of –– or warding off ...
12 hours ago | 5 / 5 (5) | 0 |