Restoring Movement and Control of the Paralyzed Arm: BCI-commanded FES

Date(s) - 01/23/2017
3:00 pm

Leadership Speaker: Robert F. Kirsch, Ph.D., Allen H. and Constance T. Ford Professor and Chair of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University

Dr. Robert F. Kirsch, Ph.D. is the ​Allen H. and Constance T. Ford Professor and Chair of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University and the Executive Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs Rehabilitation Research and Development Service “Center for Functional Electrical Stimulation”. He is the Principal Investigator of the Case-Coulter Translational Research partnership, a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), the Chair of the national BME Council of Chairs (2017), the Director of a NIBIB T32 training grant, and a member of advisory boards for a number of biomedical engineering departments, research centers, and training grants across the US and internationally. His research focuses on the restoration of arm movements to individuals with complete paralysis of arm muscles due to spinal cord injury or other neurological disorders using functional electrical stimulation (FES), as well as high performance user command interfaces such as brain computer interfaces and advanced prosthetic user interfaces. He received a BS in electrical engineering (University of Cincinnati) and the MS and Ph.D. in biomedical engineering (Northwestern University), and completed post-doctoral research (McGill University).


We have been working for more than 15 years to develop an implanted neuroprosthesis that uses functional electrical stimulation (FES) to activate the paralyzed muscles of the shoulder, arm, and hand to restore arm and hand function. I will describe the development and deployment of this FES system for people with high cervical spinal cord injury. I will also describe the implementation and evaluation of an intracortical brain interface AND a FES system that together allow a user to direct the actions of their FES-restored arm and hand movements in an effective and intuitive manner.