BRAIN2ROBOTProject ID: 14194
A Robotic-Arm Orthosis Controlled by Electroencephalography and Gaze for Locked-In Paralytics
Total cost:EUR 0
EU contribution:EUR 1 314 753
Call for proposal:FP6-2002-MOBILITY-8See other projects for this call
Funding scheme:EXT - Marie Curie actions-Grants for Excellent Teams
The project is an interdisciplinary effort, blending human motor physiology with engineering in order to create an intuitively controlled robotic orthosis which, for the first time, restores arm movement and basic functionality needed by severely paralysed (locked-in) patients. There have been internationally spread efforts to do so based on prosthetic technology and electrophysiology, but so far none have made a clinical impact. The unique combination of technologies we propose aims to overcome practical challenges, which have so far merely promised breakthroughs. The pneumatic robot will be inexpensive and light, fitting snugly around a patient's arm. The issue of transmitting commands from the user's brain to the paralysed limb or orthotically assisted arm has been the subject of the young field of electroencephalography-based brain-computer interfaces (EEG BCI).
Shortcomings of current efforts, corruption of electrode signals by head/eye motion, and limited data transmission rate are overcome by using gaze tracking to encode target position information for reaching. The BCI would be based on an advanced, reliable design developed at the host institution, which discriminates EEG readiness potentials for different motor action intentions. Mapping motor action to new motor action, whose performance and stability is ensured by the robot, helps preserve intuitiveness of use. The project presents a new line of research in robotics and BCI, is geared to solving an urgent clinical need, but also opens up new possibilities of research into basic questions about motor physiology and brain function and organisation. Finally, the proposer is given an opportunity to use the full spectrum of his interdisciplinary expertise, and create a small research group that can potentially train a new generation of young scientists in a fast-evolving area of research.