The Brain Machine Interfacing Initiative
at the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg
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Scientific Progress in recent years has successfully shown that, in principle, it is feasible to drive prostheses or computers using brain activity: Monkeys have learned to move a computer cursor or a robotic arm [1, 2]. People have learned to use simple prototypes to write short texts or to control technical devices [3, 4].
The focus of worldwide research in this new technology, known as brain-machine-, or brain-computer interface, has been based on two different prototypes: Non-invasive BMIs, which measure activity from large groups of neurons with electrodes placed on the surface of the scalp (EEG), and invasive BMIs, which measure activity from single neurons with miniature wires placed inside the brain.
The General principle underlying Brain-Machine Interfaces
Sample experiment performed in Freiburg: Recording of human brain activity during arm movement
Here you can see a patient in the university clinic who is performing hand movements while we are recording signals from the surface of his cortex (electrocorticogram, ECoG). The patient is actually undergoing a pre-surgical epilepsy diagnosis and has voluntarily agreed to take part in this study during his diagnosis. The study has been approved by the universities ethics committee. (click on picture to start movie)
Signals recorded from the surface of the brain can be used to decode the movement intentions of a human subject:
Other BMI-Labs in Germany
Selected BMI-Labs in other countries
Pioneering companies in the USA
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