Event Details

Brain-Controlled Robots

Future neuroprostheses will be tightly coupled with the user in such a way that the resulting system can replace and restore impaired upper limb functions because controlled by the same neural signals than their natural counterparts. A key component of these neuroprostheses is a brain-machine interface (BMI), which enables users to interact with computers and robots through the voluntary modulation of their brain activity. The central tenet of a BMI is the capability to distinguish different patterns of brain activity in real time, each being associated to a particular intention or mental task. This is a challenging problem due to the limited information carried by brain signals we can measure, no matter the recording modality. How then is it possible to operate complex brain-controlled robots over long periods of time? In this talk I will argue that efficient brain-machine interaction, as the execution of voluntary movements, requires the integration of several parts of the CNS and the external actuators. I will put forward principles to design neuroprostheses, which I will illustrate through working prototypes of brain-controlled robots and applications for disabled and able-bodied people alike.

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José del R. Millán

José del R. Millán is a professor and holds the Carol Cockrell Curran Chair in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. He is also a professor in the Department of Neurology of the Dell Medical School. Prior to joining UT Austin, he was a research scientist at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in Ispra, Italy, and a senior researcher at the Idiap Research Institute in Martigny, Switzerland. Most recently, he held the Defitech Foundation Chair in Brain-Machine Interface at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland, where he helped establish the Center for Neuroprosthetics. Dr. Millán has made big contributions to the field of brain-machine interfaces, especially based on EEG signals. Most of his achievements revolve around the design of brain-controlled robots. He has received several recognitions for these seminal and pioneering achievements, notably the IEEE-SMC Norbert Wiener Award, elevation to IEEE Fellow and IAMBE Fellow. In addition to his work on the fundamentals of BMI and design of neuroprosthetics, Millán is prioritizing the translation of BMI to end-users who live with motor and cognitive disabilities. He is also designing BMI technology to offer new interaction modalities for healthy persons.