Emily Porter, PhD | The University of Texas at Austin; Jose del R. Millan, PhD | The University of Texas at Austin
Competition Sponsor: US National Academy of Medicine
Awardee Year: 2022
Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) have the potential to revolutionize the way we treat brain-related injuries and diseases. To date, BCIs have been invasive and require surgery to implant into the brain. Developing non-invasive BCIs is critical to improving safety and reducing costs, however the utility of non-invasive BCIs has been hindered by the poor spatial resolution of electroencephalogram (EEG) signals, meaning that fine motor control is not possible. We propose combining microwave radar (MWR) with electroencephalography in a novel multi-modal BCI technology to uniquely enable non-invasive functional imaging of the brain. This technology will harness high-resolution MWR imaging, while maintaining high temporal resolution with a low-cost and wearable nature. Notably, MWR is safe for 24/7 usage with no known side-effects. A joint MWR-EEG platform will result in a powerful technology that allows for non-invasive tracking of the functional activity of small brain regions at the millimeter and millisecond ranges. In this study, we will: i) develop a framework for the integration of MWR and EEG for multi-modal, quantitative functional imaging of the brain; ii) identify the currently undetermined relationship between MWR and EEG signals; and iii) establish the clinical utility of MWR-EEG BCI in rehabilitation of chronic motor stroke patients. Overall, the proposed non-invasive MWR-EEG BCI, will enable decoding of movement attempts well beyond the current state-of-the-art, with great potential to: i) assist, recover and augment people’s (lost) abilities through personalized, adaptive treatment strategies, and ii) understand, probe and enhance multimodal brain correlates of human motor and cognitive functions.
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