This week, I had the opportunity to learn more about the research projects of my fellow BSURFers. Every one of them was very unique and interesting. I really enjoyed my peers’ presentations and thank them for such a great experience. Among all, I found Ricardo’s project about brain machine interface (BMI) to be the most intriguing, so I will be reflecting about it in more detail.
A brain-machine interface is a direct communication pathway between an enhanced or wired brain and an external device. Ricardo’s lab is seeing this interface as a possibility to restore mobility in the limbs of people who have paraplegia. He particularly analyzes the lag times between neural firing rates and velocity in monkeys. He uses the data from the previous experiments where monkeys are given a joystick that controls a cursor on a screen and asked to move it to a specific target. He compares the lag times of bimanual tasks (monkeys use two joysticks to move two different cursors to two different targets) to those of unimanual tasks (monkeys use one joystick to move one cursor to one target) performed by monkeys and uses MATLAB to produce graphs that could help him understand the relationship between these two different type of tasks.
I think, in the future, the brain-machine interface could be a solution to people with different type of disabilities. Ricardo did a great job by presenting his very interesting project. I will be excitedly waiting to hear more about the developments in this project from Ricardo.