Neuromorphic Design & Neural Prostheses for Restoring Sensorimotor Function

Date(s) - 08/23/2010
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Ranu Jung, PhD, Arizona State University

Ranu Jung, PhD

Center for Adaptive Neural Systems

School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering

at Ira A Fulton Schools of Engineering

Arizona State University

Tempe, Arizona, USA


Engineering techniques can play a role in understanding biological systems, mimicking biological processes, and intervening to restore function after trauma. Computational models allow us to investigate the underlying mechanisms for neural control as well as the adaptive or maladaptive biological processes. Such models can be used to design neuromorphic technology that mimics biological systems. Neural prostheses, incorporating neuromorphic approaches into system design can be used to interact with the nervous system. Neural systems often adapt in response to the patterns of activity across the network of neurons.  This type of adaptation, or activity-dependent plasticity, is likely to be the primary process involved as a child learns how to ride a bike or as a person with spinal cord injury re-learns how to walk. Neural prostheses can be used to not only restore lost function but also promote beneficial adaptation in neural systems by tapping into these processes of activity-dependent plasticity.  This talk will present some of our work in using neural models, designing neuromorphic systems and developing neural prostheses.  A neural model of spinal circuitry of lower vertebrates will be presented.  We have used this model to design neuromorphic controllers to interface with an active spinal cord and to adaptively control orthoses to allow mobility after lower limb trauma in people. I will also compare the use of repetitive movement treadmill therapy and neuromuscular electrical stimulation therapy for promoting recovery of locomotor function after incomplete spinal cord injury in a rodent model and then discuss the use of a biomimetic adaptive control interface for providing stimulaitonion therapy.  Finally, the talk will present an overview of an on-going project that is developing and implementing a novel implanted neural prosthesis directed at improving the functionality of artificial limbs by providing sensory feedback to the user.