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Engineering Artificial Somatosensation Through Cortical Stimulation in Humans

Lee, Brian and Kramer, Daniel and Armenta Salas, Michelle and Kellis, Spencer and Brown, David and Dobreva, Tatyana and Klaes, Christian and Heck, Christi and Liu, Charles and Andersen, Richard A. (2018) Engineering Artificial Somatosensation Through Cortical Stimulation in Humans. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 12 . Art. No. 24. ISSN 1662-5137. PMCID PMC5994581. doi:10.3389/fnsys.2018.00024.

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Sensory feedback is a critical aspect of motor control rehabilitation following paralysis or amputation. Current human studies have demonstrated the ability to deliver some of this sensory information via brain-machine interfaces, although further testing is needed to understand the stimulation parameters effect on sensation. Here, we report a systematic evaluation of somatosensory restoration in humans, using cortical stimulation with subdural mini-electrocorticography (mini-ECoG) grids. Nine epilepsy patients undergoing implantation of cortical electrodes for seizure localization were also implanted with a subdural 64-channel mini-ECoG grid over the hand area of the primary somatosensory cortex (S1). We mapped the somatotopic location and size of receptive fields evoked by stimulation of individual channels of the mini-ECoG grid. We determined the effects on perception by varying stimulus parameters of pulse width, current amplitude, and frequency. Finally, a target localization task was used to demonstrate the use of artificial sensation in a behavioral task. We found a replicable somatotopic representation of the hand on the mini-ECoG grid across most subjects during electrical stimulation. The stimulus-evoked sensations were usually of artificial quality, but in some cases were more natural and of a cutaneous or proprioceptive nature. Increases in pulse width, current strength and frequency generally produced similar quality sensations at the same somatotopic location, but with a perception of increased intensity. The subjects produced near perfect performance when using the evoked sensory information in target acquisition tasks. These findings indicate that electrical stimulation of somatosensory cortex through mini-ECoG grids has considerable potential for restoring useful sensation to patients with paralysis and amputation.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription CentralArticle
Armenta Salas, Michelle0000-0002-0634-2891
Kellis, Spencer0000-0002-5158-1058
Dobreva, Tatyana0000-0002-2625-8873
Klaes, Christian0000-0003-4767-9631
Liu, Charles0000-0002-4314-8713
Andersen, Richard A.0000-0002-7947-0472
Additional Information:© 2018 Lee, Kramer, Armenta Salas, Kellis, Brown, Dobreva, Klaes, Heck, Liu and Andersen. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. Received: 11 October 2017; Accepted: 04 May 2018; Published: 04 June 2018. Edited by: Jonathan B. Fritz, University of Maryland, College Park, United States Reviewed by: Robert N. S. Sachdev, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany Kevin J. Otto, University of Florida, United States Jeff Ojemann, Seattle Children’s Hospital, United States We wish to acknowledge the generous support of Cal-BRAIN: A Neurotechnology Program for California, National Center for Advancing Translational Science (NCATS) of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (KL2TR001854), The Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation (NREF), the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Brain-machine Interface Center at Caltech, the Boswell Foundation and the Della Martin Foundation. Author Contributions: BL, CL and RA conceived the original idea and experiments. BL, DK, MAS, SK, DB, TD, CK and CH planned and operationalized the experiments. BL, DK and MAS carried out the experiments. BL, DK, MAS, SK and CL contributed to the interpretation of the results. BL, DK, MAS, SK and RA took the lead in writing the manuscript. All authors provided critical feedback and helped shape the research, analysis and manuscript. The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.
Group:Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Neurosurgery Research and Education FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for NeuroscienceUNSPECIFIED
James G. Boswell FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Della Martin FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:brain machine interface (BMI); cortical stimulation; electrocorticography (ECoG); sensory feedback control; somatosensation
PubMed Central ID:PMC5994581
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180626-132706950
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Lee B, Kramer D, Armenta Salas M, Kellis S, Brown D, Dobreva T, Klaes C, Heck C, Liu C and Andersen RA (2018) Engineering Artificial Somatosensation Through Cortical Stimulation in Humans. Front. Syst. Neurosci. 12:24. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2018.00024
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:87352
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:26 Jun 2018 20:44
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 20:47

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