The IEEE Brain Initiative eNewsletter is a quarterly online publication launched in January 2017. It features practical and timely information and forward-looking commentary on neurotechnologies and neuroengineering. eNewsletter articles can describe recent breakthroughs in research, primers on methods of interests, or report recent events such as conferences or workshops. You can contact the eNewsletter editor with any questions concerning the topic or content of your article.

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Towards the Design of BCI-based Accelerated Training System for Air Traffic Controllers

Communicated by Distinguished Professor Chin-Teng Lin 

May 2022

Chin-Teng Lin and Alka Rachel John

Humans are easily overwhelmed with tasks that push them beyond their capabilities. Despite their remarkable resilience to diverse working conditions, the work environment must be adapted to afford comfortable interactions with human operator abilities. Modern work environments position human operators at a supervisory level where they have extensive interactions with technology and must integrate multiple streams of information, demanding more cognitive resources and resulting in a higher workload in the human operators. 

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Distributed Wireless Networks of Microimplants for Neural Recording and Stimulation

May 2022

Jihun Lee, Ahhyoung Lee, Vincent Leung, Farah Laiwalla, Arto Nurmikko

The concept of brain circuits computing as an extended network, composed of billions of neurons represents a contemporary view which is exploited in research of brain-machine interfaces (BMI). Population dynamics recorded from ensembles of neurons have been dominated by intracortical silicon-based microelectrode arrays (MEA), monolithic ‘beds of needles’, wired to external signal processing electronics. The work has deepened our understanding of underlying functional principles especially of the motor cortex as a network, leading to first clinical trials of human BMIs. The importance of computational techniques in neural decoding in this highly undersampled circumstance is demonstrated in the example study: e.g. recent work by the Stanford group where pattern recognition of spiking neural population has demonstrated a BMI hand writing-to-text capability. A forward-looking question is about the type of neural recording device technologies which are scalable and able to access a much larger number of neurons for decoding complex motor, sensory, and perhaps even cognitive tasks.

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Next Generation Neural Interfaces: Research on Emerging Technologies at Imperial College London

D. Y. Barsakcioglu, S. Luan, L. Grand, T. G. Constandinou

The era of bioelectronic healthcare is dawning upon us. As electronic systems shrink in size and improve in functionality, we see more and more emerging devices that can track vital signs, such as heart rate and blood pressure, realising the grand vision of highly connected sensor nodes monitoring patients’ health beyond the hospital doors. The real revolution in digital healthcare, however, lies in bringing not only the diagnostics but also the therapy to the patient which requires interfacing the world of electronics with biology.

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Network Data on the Statistical Testbench

A New Method for Generating Realistic Null Data Exploiting Underlying Graph Structure with Application to EEG

E. Pirondini, A. Vybornova, M. Coscia, and D. Van De Ville

Technological and computational advances are making available large amounts of high-dimensional and rich-structured biomedical data, including brain images and signals. Acknowledging the network structure in our analyses opens a multitude of avenues in investigating “systems level” properties. For instance, computational neuroscience has boosted the interest in modeling and analyzing large datasets using concepts normally applied in networks and graph theories.

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On the Need of Standards for Brain-Machine Interface Systems

R. Chavarriaga, C. Carey, C. Tom, B. Ash

The field of Brain-Machine Interfacing (BMI) is going through a very exciting period where the state-of- the-art in research is currently being tested on its intended end-users. Evidently, this translation from laboratory proof-of concepts to viable clinical and assistive solutions entails a large set of challenges. Furthermore, the possibility of deploying and commercializing BMI-based solutions requires researchers, manufacturers, and regulatory agencies to ensure these devices comply with well-defined criteria on their safety and effectiveness. In consequence, there is an increased interest on development of appropriate standards for BMI systems.

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