Newsletter

Regulation of arousal via online neurofeedback improves human performance in a demanding sensory motor task

RESEARCH

October 2019

Josef Faller, Jennifer Cummings, Sameer Saproo, Paul Sajda

High arousal can adversely affect task performance. Walking over a balance beam that sits 10 cm over the floor, for example, will be easier for most people than walking over a beam that is fixed at a height of 10 m, where a misstep could lead to grave injury. Another example is referred to as “pilot induced oscillations” (PIOs), where airplane pilots – under high arousal – dangerously overcompensate for small control errors in a way that can quickly escalate to losing control over and/or crashing the plane. In 1908, Yerkes & Dodson first formally described an inverse U-shape relationship between arousal and performance under high task difficulty [1]( see Figure 1.A). From the perspective of neurophysiology, there is evidence in support of the hypothesis that an interplay between the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and locus coeruleus (LC) – regions implicated in monitoring task performance and mediating stress responses – may play a critical role in explaining this phenomenon [2,3](see Figure 1.B). In a previous study, our group identified EEG signatures of PIO propensity or task-dependent arousal in a virtual flight task, a so called “boundary avoidance task” (BAT), where difficulty progressively increases over 90 seconds to induce PIOs and task failure, i.e. crashing the plane into a boundary [4](see Figure 1.C).

Notes from the Cybathlon BCI series 2019

OPINION

October 2019

Ricardo Chavarriaga

Development of brain-computer interface technologies is a long term endeavour that faces multiple challenges. The transition from the controlled conditions of research laboratories to real-life is paved with uncertainties about multiple factors that affect human and machine performance. The Cybathlon tries to address these difficulties by setting up an event in which people with disabilities can compete on several disciplines where they perform day-to-day activities using state-of-the-art assistive technologies [1].

The Possibilities to Augment Physical Capabilities using Brain Machine Interfaces

OPINION

October 2019

Christian I. Penaloza and Shuichi Nishio

Augmenting Human Capabilities

As humans, we have always tried to augment our physical and cognitive capabilities to enhance the strength or endurance of our bodies or minds. Although the concept of human augmentation is not new, with the fast development of new robotic systems, AI and genetic engineering, it has accelerated in the last decade and will continue accelerating even further in the upcoming decades. The expected outcome will be a new kind of human beings, superhumans or cyborgs, that will seamlessly integrate machines with their human bodies and will have unprecedented capabilities to achieve things that today’s humans are not capable of.

Shedding light on traumatic brain bleeding with Infrascanner

RESEARCH

April 2019

Ayaz H., Izzetoglu K., Izzetoglu M., Onaral B., Ben-Dor B.

Early identification of intracranial hematomas in patients with traumatic brain injury is crucial for the successful outcome of the intervention, specifically since expansion of the hemorrhage can result in debilitating and sometimes fatal outcomes. ‘Golden period’ refers to the time immediately following head trauma where assessment of the neurological condition and medical intervention of a victim is most needed and can significantly reduce the mortality and morbidity rate. Led by Britton Chance, we and an extended team from University of Pennsylvania, Baylor and Drexel Universities developed a handheld brain hematoma detector for early triage and diagnosis of head trauma victims….

Reconstructing subcortical activities from high-density scalp EEG

RESEARCH

April 2019

Seeber M., Michel C.

A number of serious diseases, i.e. Parkinson’s, Tourette syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD) are directly associated with subcortical regions. Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is applied as a therapy for severe cases suffering from these diseases. While subcortical areas are known to play an important role in mediating interactions in large-scale networks, it is less clear how their dysfunction affect certain diseases. Furthermore, it is an ongoing discussion how DBS influences subcortical-cortical networks dynamics leading to the treatment’s outcome. In order to study electrophysiological dynamics in subcortical regions, implanted electrodes in these areas are needed. This neurosurgery is naturally only justifiable and possible in the framework of deep brain stimulation therapy, which restricts investigating subcortical dynamics in humans to a few case studies.

Neuroadaptive Bayesian Optimization: a closed-loop approach for non-invasive brain stimulation

RESEARCH

April 2019

Violante I.R., Leech R., Lorenz R.

Brain stimulation is an increasingly popular field, capturing the creativity of DIY brain hackers and neurotechnology enthusiasts. Among scientists and clinicians, non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) is seen as a tool to causally investigate brain-behaviour relations and a promising treatment for a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders [1]. Here we introduce our novel approach, Neuroadaptive Bayesian Optimization, designed to tackle limitations associated with conventional applications of NIBS, and define individualised stimulation protocols to inform clinical applications with optimal efficacy.

BIO-X: Biocomplexity, Biodesign, Bioinnovation, Biomanufacturing and Bioentrepreneurship

STUDENT CORNER

December 2018

The 17th International Summer School on BIO-X: Biocomplexity, Biodesign, Bioinnovation, Biomanufacturing and Bioentrepreneurship, sponsored by the NSF, the University of Houston Biomedical Engineering Department and technically co-sponsored by the IEEE Brain Initiative and the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, was held at the Chania Academy, Crete, June 11-17, 2018. This summer school was a continuation of previous summer schools. Thirty students and six distinguished and three junior faculty (post-docs) attended the 17th summer school. The NSF, the IEEE Brain Initiative and the University of Houston co-sponsored 30 students. 

Listening to the Brain with Hearing Devices

RESEARCH
Bleichner M. G., Grzybowski M., Ernst S. M. A. , Kollmeier B. , Debener S. , Denk F.

While you are reading this text, pay attention to the sounds around you. How many different sounds do you notice? Where do they come from? Concentrate on one of them. Is the sound high or low pitched? Now concentrate on a different sound. Does that sound have a specific rhythm?

Near-infrared Upconversion Optogenetics Helps Brain Stimulation Go Deep

RESEARCH
Shuo Chen

For decades, scientists and physicians have electrically stimulated neurons deep in the brain with implanted electrodes connected through wires to a pacemaker-like device under the skin of the chest. This approach, known as deep brain stimulation (DBS), can treat patients with various neurological symptoms, such as Parkinson’s disease and major depression.

The Decoding of Oscillatory Brain Dynamics induced by Haptic Stimuli and Imagined Haptic Stimuli Sensation and its application for a Novel Type of Somatosensory Brain-computer Interface

RESEARCH
Lin Yao, Ning Jiang.

Brain-computer Interface (BCI) permits a direct channel between the brain and the external environment, bypassing the physiological channel for such interaction, i.e. the neuromuscular system. This technology can be useful in medical applications, including locked-in syndrome, stroke, spinal cord injury, and cerebral palsy, as well as applications of a more general purpose such as education, ergonomics, and manufacturing. Event-related desynchronization (ERD) and synchronization (ERS) of brain signals and movement-related cortical potentials (MRCP), both of which are generated during motor imagery tasks (MI), have been shown to allow real-time, direct BCI control.

About BrainInsight

BrainInsight, the IEEE Brain Initiative eNewsletter, is a quarterly online publication, featuring practical and timely information and forward-looking commentary on neurotechnologies. BrainInsight describes recent breakthroughs in research, primers on methods of interests, or report recent events such as conferences or workshops.


Managing Editor

Ricardo Chavarriaga
Zurich University of Applied Science(ZHAW)
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