In the past decade, research on the motor control side of neuroprosthetics has steadily gained momentum. However, modern research in prosthetic development supplements a focus on motor control with a concentration on sensory feedback. Simulating sensation is a central issue because without sensory capabilities, the sophistication of the most advanced motor control system fails to reach its full potential. This research is an effort toward the development of sensory feedback specifically for neuroprosthetic hands. The present aim of this work is to understand the processing and representation of cutaneous sensation by evaluating performance and neural activity in somatosensory cortex (SI) during a grasp task. A non-human primate (Macaca mulatta) was trained to reach out and grasp textured instrumented objects with a precision grip. Two different textures for the objects were used, 100% cotton cloth and 60-grade sandpaper, and the target object was presented at two different orientations. Of the 167 cells that were isolated for this experiment, only 42 were recorded while the subject executed a few blocks of successful trials for both textures. These latter cells were used in this study's statistical analysis. Of these, 37 units (88%) exhibited statistically significant task related activity. Twenty-two units (52%) exhibited statistically significant tuning to texture, and 16 units (38%) exhibited statistically significant tuning to posture. Ten of the cells (24%) exhibited statistically significant tuning to both texture and posture. These data suggest that single units in somatosensory cortex can encode multiple phenomena such as texture and posture. However, if this information is to be used to provide sensory feedback for a prosthesis, scientists must learn to further parse cortical activity to discover how to induce specific modalities of sensation. Future experiments should therefore be developed that probe more variables and that more systematically and comprehensively scan somatosensory cortex. This will allow researchers to seek out the existence or non-existence of cortical pockets reserved for certain modalities of sensation, which will be valuable in learning how to later provide appropriate sensory feedback for a prosthesis through cortical stimulation.
- Single-unit responses in somatosensory cortex to precision grip of textured surfaces
The date the item was original created (prior to any relationship with the ASU Digital Repositories.)
Collections this item is in
Citation and reuse
Statement of Responsibility
by Stephanie Naufel