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Intracortical microstimulation of somatosensory cortex: functional encoding and localization of neuronal recruitment

Description

Intracortical microstimulation (ICMS) within somatosensory cortex can produce artificial sensations including touch, pressure, and vibration. There is significant interest in using ICMS to provide sensory feedback for a prosthetic limb. In such a system, information recorded from sensors on the

Intracortical microstimulation (ICMS) within somatosensory cortex can produce artificial sensations including touch, pressure, and vibration. There is significant interest in using ICMS to provide sensory feedback for a prosthetic limb. In such a system, information recorded from sensors on the prosthetic would be translated into electrical stimulation and delivered directly to the brain, providing feedback about features of objects in contact with the prosthetic. To achieve this goal, multiple simultaneous streams of information will need to be encoded by ICMS in a manner that produces robust, reliable, and discriminable sensations. The first segment of this work focuses on the discriminability of sensations elicited by ICMS within somatosensory cortex. Stimulation on multiple single electrodes and near-simultaneous stimulation across multiple electrodes, driven by a multimodal tactile sensor, were both used in these experiments. A SynTouch BioTac sensor was moved across a flat surface in several directions, and a subset of the sensor's electrode impedance channels were used to drive multichannel ICMS in the somatosensory cortex of a non-human primate. The animal performed a behavioral task during this stimulation to indicate the discriminability of sensations evoked by the electrical stimulation. The animal's responses to ICMS were somewhat inconsistent across experimental sessions but indicated that discriminable sensations were evoked by both single and multichannel ICMS. The factors that affect the discriminability of stimulation-induced sensations are not well understood, in part because the relationship between ICMS and the neural activity it induces is poorly defined. The second component of this work was to develop computational models that describe the populations of neurons likely to be activated by ICMS. Models of several neurons were constructed, and their responses to ICMS were calculated. A three-dimensional cortical model was constructed using these cell models and used to identify the populations of neurons likely to be recruited by ICMS. Stimulation activated neurons in a sparse and discontinuous fashion; additionally, the type, number, and location of neurons likely to be activated by stimulation varied with electrode depth.

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2013

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Frequency response characteristics of respiratory flow-meters

Description

Flow measurement has always been one of the most critical processes in many industrial and clinical applications. The dynamic behavior of flow helps to define the state of a process. An industrial example would be that in an aircraft, where

Flow measurement has always been one of the most critical processes in many industrial and clinical applications. The dynamic behavior of flow helps to define the state of a process. An industrial example would be that in an aircraft, where the rate of airflow passing the aircraft is used to determine the speed of the plane. A clinical example would be that the flow of a patient's breath which could help determine the state of the patient's lungs. This project is focused on the flow-meter that are used for airflow measurement in human lungs. In order to do these measurements, resistive-type flow-meters are commonly used in respiratory measurement systems. This method consists of passing the respiratory flow through a fluid resistive component, while measuring the resulting pressure drop, which is linearly related to volumetric flow rate. These types of flow-meters typically have a low frequency response but are adequate for most applications, including spirometry and respiration monitoring. In the case of lung parameter estimation methods, such as the Quick Obstruction Method, it becomes important to have a higher frequency response in the flow-meter so that the high frequency components in the flow are measurable. The following three types of flow-meters were: a. Capillary type b. Screen Pneumotach type c. Square Edge orifice type To measure the frequency response, a sinusoidal flow is generated with a small speaker and passed through the flow-meter that is connected to a large, rigid container. True flow is proportional to the derivative of the pressure inside the container. True flow is then compared with the measured flow, which is proportional to the pressure drop across the flow-meter. In order to do the characterization, two LabVIEW data acquisition programs have been developed, one for transducer calibration, and another one that records flow and pressure data for frequency response testing of the flow-meter. In addition, a model that explains the behavior exhibited by the flow-meter has been proposed and simulated. This model contains a fluid resistor and inductor in series. The final step in this project was to approximate the frequency response data to the developed model expressed as a transfer function.

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2013

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Comparison of feature selection methods for robust dexterous decoding of finger movements from the primary motor cortex of a non-human primate using support vector machine

Description

Robust and stable decoding of neural signals is imperative for implementing a useful neuroprosthesis capable of carrying out dexterous tasks. A nonhuman primate (NHP) was trained to perform combined flexions of the thumb, index and middle fingers in addition to

Robust and stable decoding of neural signals is imperative for implementing a useful neuroprosthesis capable of carrying out dexterous tasks. A nonhuman primate (NHP) was trained to perform combined flexions of the thumb, index and middle fingers in addition to individual flexions and extensions of the same digits. An array of microelectrodes was implanted in the hand area of the motor cortex of the NHP and used to record action potentials during finger movements. A Support Vector Machine (SVM) was used to classify which finger movement the NHP was making based upon action potential firing rates. The effect of four feature selection techniques, Wilcoxon signed-rank test, Relative Importance, Principal Component Analysis, and Mutual Information Maximization was compared based on SVM classification performance. SVM classification was used to examine the functional parameters of (i) efficacy (ii) endurance to simulated failure and (iii) longevity of classification. The effect of using isolated-neuron and multi-unit firing rates was compared as the feature vector supplied to the SVM. The best classification performance was on post-implantation day 36, when using multi-unit firing rates the worst classification accuracy resulted from features selected with Wilcoxon signed-rank test (51.12 ± 0.65%) and the best classification accuracy resulted from Mutual Information Maximization (93.74 ± 0.32%). On this day when using single-unit firing rates, the classification accuracy from the Wilcoxon signed-rank test was 88.85 ± 0.61 % and Mutual Information Maximization was 95.60 ± 0.52% (degrees of freedom =10, level of chance =10%)

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2015

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Smart glove: an assistive device to enhance recovery of hand function during motor rehabilitation

Description

Stroke accounts for high rates of mortality and disability in the United States. It levies great economic burden on the affected subjects, their family and the society at large. Motor impairments after stroke mainly manifest themselves as hemiplegia or hemiparesis

Stroke accounts for high rates of mortality and disability in the United States. It levies great economic burden on the affected subjects, their family and the society at large. Motor impairments after stroke mainly manifest themselves as hemiplegia or hemiparesis in the upper and lower limbs. Motor recovery is highly variable but can be enhanced through motor rehabilitation with sufficient movement repetition and intensity. Cost effective assistive devices that can augment therapy by increasing movement repetition both at home and in the clinic may facilitate recovery. This thesis aims to develop a Smart Glove that can enhance motor recovery by providing feedback to both the therapist and the patient on the number of hand movements (wrist and finger extensions) performed during therapy. The design implements resistive flex sensors for detecting the extensions and processes the information using the Lightblue bean microcontroller mounted on the wrist. Communication between the processing unit and display module is wireless and executes Bluetooth 4.0 communication protocol. The capacity for the glove to measure and record hand movements was tested on three stroke and one traumatic brain injured patient while performing a box and blocks test. During testing many design flaws were noted and several were adapted during testing to improve the function of the glove. Results of the testing showed that the glove could detect wrist and finger extensions but that the sensitivity had to be calibrated for each patient. It also allowed both the therapist and patient to know whether the patient was actually performing the task in the manner requested by the therapist. Further work will reveal whether this feedback can enhance recovery of hand function in neurologically impaired patients.

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2015

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Volitional control of a powered prosthetic ankle

Description

Approximately 1.7 million people in the United States are living with limb loss and are in need of more sophisticated devices that better mimic human function. In the Human Machine Integration Laboratory, a powered, transtibial prosthetic ankle was designed and

Approximately 1.7 million people in the United States are living with limb loss and are in need of more sophisticated devices that better mimic human function. In the Human Machine Integration Laboratory, a powered, transtibial prosthetic ankle was designed and build that allows a person to regain ankle function with improved ankle kinematics and kinetics. The ankle allows a person to walk normally and up and down stairs, but volitional control is still an issue. This research tackled the problem of giving the user more control over the prosthetic ankle using a force/torque circuit. When the user presses against a force/torque sensor located inside the socket the prosthetic foot plantar flexes or moves downward. This will help the user add additional push-off force when walking up slopes or stairs. It also gives the user a sense of control over the device.

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2012

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Dexterous manipulation: sensorimotor learning and control

Description

Humans' ability to perform fine object and tool manipulation is a defining feature of their sensorimotor repertoire. How the central nervous system builds and maintains internal representations of such skilled hand-object interactions has attracted significant attention over the past three

Humans' ability to perform fine object and tool manipulation is a defining feature of their sensorimotor repertoire. How the central nervous system builds and maintains internal representations of such skilled hand-object interactions has attracted significant attention over the past three decades. Nevertheless, two major gaps exist: a) how digit positions and forces are coordinated during natural manipulation tasks, and b) what mechanisms underlie the formation and retention of internal representations of dexterous manipulation. This dissertation addresses these two questions through five experiments that are based on novel grip devices and experimental protocols. It was found that high-level representation of manipulation tasks can be learned in an effector-independent fashion. Specifically, when challenged by trial-to-trial variability in finger positions or using digits that were not previously engaged in learning the task, subjects could adjust finger forces to compensate for this variability, thus leading to consistent task performance. The results from a follow-up experiment conducted in a virtual reality environment indicate that haptic feedback is sufficient to implement the above coordination between digit position and forces. However, it was also found that the generalizability of a learned manipulation is limited across tasks. Specifically, when subjects learned to manipulate the same object across different contexts that require different motor output, interference was found at the time of switching contexts. Data from additional studies provide evidence for parallel learning processes, which are characterized by different rates of decay and learning. These experiments have provided important insight into the neural mechanisms underlying learning and control of object manipulation. The present findings have potential biomedical applications including brain-machine interfaces, rehabilitation of hand function, and prosthetics.

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2013

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Effects of arm configuration on patterns of reaching variability in 3D space

Description

Reaching movements are subject to noise in both the planning and execution phases of movement production. Although the effects of these noise sources in estimating and/or controlling endpoint position have been examined in many studies, the independent effects of limb

Reaching movements are subject to noise in both the planning and execution phases of movement production. Although the effects of these noise sources in estimating and/or controlling endpoint position have been examined in many studies, the independent effects of limb configuration on endpoint variability have been largely ignored. The present study investigated the effects of arm configuration on the interaction between planning noise and execution noise. Subjects performed reaching movements to three targets located in a frontal plane. At the starting position, subjects matched one of two desired arm configuration 'templates' namely "adducted" and "abducted". These arm configurations were obtained by rotations along the shoulder-hand axis, thereby maintaining endpoint position. Visual feedback of the hand was varied from trial to trial, thereby increasing uncertainty in movement planning and execution. It was hypothesized that 1) pattern of endpoint variability would be dependent on arm configuration and 2) that these differences would be most apparent in conditions without visual feedback. It was found that there were differences in endpoint variability between arm configurations in both visual conditions, but these differences were much larger when visual feedback was withheld. The overall results suggest that patterns of endpoint variability are highly dependent on arm configuration, particularly in the absence of visual feedback. This suggests that in the presence of vision, movement planning in 3D space is performed using coordinates that are largely arm configuration independent (i.e. extrinsic coordinates). In contrast, in the absence of vision, movement planning in 3D space reflects a substantial contribution of intrinsic coordinates.

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2013

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Characterizing feedforward and feedback grasp control mechanisms in early phases of manipulation

Description

Anticipatory planning of digit positions and forces is critical for successful dexterous object manipulation. Anticipatory (feedforward) planning bypasses the inherent delays in reflex responses and sensorimotor integration associated with reactive (feedback) control. It has been suggested that feedforward and feedback

Anticipatory planning of digit positions and forces is critical for successful dexterous object manipulation. Anticipatory (feedforward) planning bypasses the inherent delays in reflex responses and sensorimotor integration associated with reactive (feedback) control. It has been suggested that feedforward and feedback strategies can be distinguished based on the profile of grip and load force rates during the period between initial contact with the object and object lift. However, this has not been validated in tasks that do not constrain digit placement. The purposes of this thesis were (1) to validate the hypothesis that force rate profiles are indicative of the control strategy used for object manipulation and (2) to test this hypothesis by comparing manipulation tasks performed with and without digit placement constraints. The first objective comprised two studies. In the first study an additional light or heavy mass was added to the base of the object. In the second study a mass was added, altering the object's center of mass (CM) location. In each experiment digit force rates were calculated between the times of initial digit contact and object lift. Digit force rates were fit to a Gaussian bell curve and the goodness of fit was compared across predictable and unpredictable mass and CM conditions. For both experiments, a predictable object mass and CM elicited bell shaped force rate profiles, indicative of feedforward control. For the second objective, a comparison of performance between subjects who performed the grasp task with either constrained or unconstrained digit contact locations was conducted. When digit location was unconstrained and CM was predictable, force rates were well fit to a bell shaped curve. However, the goodness of fit of the force rate profiles to the bell shaped curve was weaker for the constrained than the unconstrained digit placement condition. These findings seem to indicate that brain can generate an appropriate feedforward control strategy even when digit placement is unconstrained and an infinite combination of digit placement and force solutions exists to lift the object successfully. Future work is needed that investigates the role digit positioning and tactile feedback has on anticipatory control of object manipulation.

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2011

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Multi-directional slip detection between artificial fingers and a grasped object

Description

Effective tactile sensing in prosthetic and robotic hands is crucial for improving the functionality of such hands and enhancing the user's experience. Thus, improving the range of tactile sensing capabilities is essential for developing versatile artificial hands. Multimodal tactile sensors

Effective tactile sensing in prosthetic and robotic hands is crucial for improving the functionality of such hands and enhancing the user's experience. Thus, improving the range of tactile sensing capabilities is essential for developing versatile artificial hands. Multimodal tactile sensors called BioTacs, which include a hydrophone and a force electrode array, were used to understand how grip force, contact angle, object texture, and slip direction may be encoded in the sensor data. Findings show that slip induced under conditions of high contact angles and grip forces resulted in significant changes in both AC and DC pressure magnitude and rate of change in pressure. Slip induced under conditions of low contact angles and grip forces resulted in significant changes in the rate of change in electrode impedance. Slip in the distal direction of a precision grip caused significant changes in pressure magnitude and rate of change in pressure, while slip in the radial direction of the wrist caused significant changes in the rate of change in electrode impedance. A strong relationship was established between slip direction and the rate of change in ratios of electrode impedance for radial and ulnar slip relative to the wrist. Consequently, establishing multiple thresholds or establishing a multivariate model may be a useful method for detecting and characterizing slip. Detecting slip for low contact angles could be done by monitoring electrode data, while detecting slip for high contact angles could be done by monitoring pressure data. Predicting slip in the distal direction could be done by monitoring pressure data, while predicting slip in the radial and ulnar directions could be done by monitoring electrode data.

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Date Created
2012

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Influence of sensorimotor noise on the planning and control of reaching in 3-dimensional space

Description

The ability to plan, execute, and control goal oriented reaching and grasping movements is among the most essential functions of the brain. Yet, these movements are inherently variable; a result of the noise pervading the neural signals underlying sensorimotor processing.

The ability to plan, execute, and control goal oriented reaching and grasping movements is among the most essential functions of the brain. Yet, these movements are inherently variable; a result of the noise pervading the neural signals underlying sensorimotor processing. The specific influences and interactions of these noise processes remain unclear. Thus several studies have been performed to elucidate the role and influence of sensorimotor noise on movement variability. The first study focuses on sensory integration and movement planning across the reaching workspace. An experiment was designed to examine the relative contributions of vision and proprioception to movement planning by measuring the rotation of the initial movement direction induced by a perturbation of the visual feedback prior to movement onset. The results suggest that contribution of vision was relatively consistent across the evaluated workspace depths; however, the influence of vision differed between the vertical and later axes indicate that additional factors beyond vision and proprioception influence movement planning of 3-dimensional movements. If the first study investigated the role of noise in sensorimotor integration, the second and third studies investigate relative influence of sensorimotor noise on reaching performance. Specifically, they evaluate how the characteristics of neural processing that underlie movement planning and execution manifest in movement variability during natural reaching. Subjects performed reaching movements with and without visual feedback throughout the movement and the patterns of endpoint variability were compared across movement directions. The results of these studies suggest a primary role of visual feedback noise in shaping patterns of variability and in determining the relative influence of planning and execution related noise sources. The final work considers a computational approach to characterizing how sensorimotor processes interact to shape movement variability. A model of multi-modal feedback control was developed to simulate the interaction of planning and execution noise on reaching variability. The model predictions suggest that anisotropic properties of feedback noise significantly affect the relative influence of planning and execution noise on patterns of reaching variability.

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2012