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Published October 2014 | Published
Journal Article Open

A cognitive neuroprosthetic that uses cortical stimulation for somatosensory feedback


Present day cortical brain–machine interfaces (BMIs) have made impressive advances using decoded brain signals to control extracorporeal devices. Although BMIs are used in a closed-loop fashion, sensory feedback typically is visual only. However medical case studies have shown that the loss of somesthesis in a limb greatly reduces the agility of the limb even when visual feedback is available. Approach. To overcome this limitation, this study tested a closed-loop BMI that utilizes intracortical microstimulation to provide 'tactile' sensation to a non-human primate. Main result. Using stimulation electrodes in Brodmann area 1 of somatosensory cortex (BA1) and recording electrodes in the anterior intraparietal area, the parietal reach region and dorsal area 5 (area 5d), it was found that this form of feedback can be used in BMI tasks. Significance. Providing somatosensory feedback has the poyential to greatly improve the performance of cognitive neuroprostheses especially for fine control and object manipulation. Adding stimulation to a BMI system could therefore improve the quality of life for severely paralyzed patients.

Additional Information

© 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd. Content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI. Received 24 March 2014, revised 25 July 2014; Accepted for publication 7 August 2014; Published 22 September 2014. We thank K Pejsa, J D Beaty, F V Tenore for project management; N Sammons and C Gonzales for animal care; V Shcherbatyuk, Applied Physics Laboratory at John Hopkins University for technical support, T Yao for administrative assistance; S J Bensmaia for valuable advice on stimulation study. This work was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Institutes of Health.

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