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Brain Machine Interfaces

Program Manager: Dr. Alan Rudolph

The Brain Machine Interfaces Program represents a major DSO thrust area that will comprise a multidisciplinary, multipronged approach with far reaching impact. The program will create new technologies for augmenting human performance through the ability to noninvasively access codes in the brain in real time and integrate them into peripheral device or system operations. Focus will be on the following areas:

1. Extraction of neural and force dynamic codes related to patterns of motor or sensory activity required for executing simple to complex motor or sensory activity (e.g., reaching, grasping, manipulating, running, walking, kicking, digging, hearing, seeing, tactile). Accessing sensory activity directly could result in the ability to monitor or transmit communications by the brain (visual, auditory, or other). This will require the exploitation of new interfaces and algorithms for providing useful nonlinear transformation, pattern extraction techniques, and the ability to test these in appropriate models or systems.

2. Determination of necessary force and sensory feedback (positional, postural, visual, acoustic, or other) from a peripheral device or interface that will provide critical inputs required for closed loop control of a working device (robotic appendage or other peripheral control device or system). Such feedback could be received from peripheral systems or sent directly into appropriate brain regions.

3. New methods, processes, and instrumentation for accessing neural codes noninvasively at appropriate spatiotemporal resolution to provide closed loop control of a peripheral device. This could include both fundamental interactions of neural cells, tissue, and brain with energy profiles that could provide noninvasive access to codes (magnetics, light, or other).

4. New materials and device design and fabrication methods that embody compliance and elastic principles, and that capture force dynamics that integrate with neural control commands. These include the use of dynamic materials and designs into working prototypes.

5. Demonstrations of plasticity from the neural system and from an integrated working device or system that result in real time control under relevant conditions of force perturbation and cluttered sensory environments from which tasks must be performed (e.g., recognizing and picking up a target and manipulating it).

6. Biomimetic implementation of controllers (with robotics or other devices and systems) that integrate neural sensory or motor control integrated with force dynamic and sensory feedback from a working device or system. The first phase of the program may include dynamic control of simple and complex motor or sensory activity directly using neural codes integrated into a machine, device, or system. Simple actions considered include using a robotic arm or leg to sense a target, reach for it and manipulate it, throw or kick an object at a target, or recognize a sensory input and responding to it (visual, acoustic) directly through input/output brain integration. More complex activity may include issues related to force or sensory perturbation in more complex environments.

Solicitation Information:

Defense Sciences Research and Technology

Special Focus Area: Brain Machine Interfaces

Announcement #: BAA01-42, Addendum 1

CBD Reference: September 17, 2001


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