The Future of Mobile Brain Imaging

Date(s) - 09/21/2020
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Virtual via Zoom

Ryan Downey, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Florida

Ryan Downey, Ph.D.

Recent advancements in electroencephalography (EEG) have encouraged researchers to study brain activity during whole body movement, for example walking. However, motion artifacts continue to be problematic, and they significantly limit our ability to obtain clean brain signals for subsequent analysis. In this talk, Dr. Downey will present his research on mobile brain imaging and his vision for the future where he sees his current efforts directly leading to advances in brain computer interfaces for neuro rehabilitation, sports performance, entertainment, and more. First, Dr. Downey will present the latest version of an electrically conductive phantom head model that he developed for EEG signal processing validation. The phantom contains 10 brain sources, 4 neck muscle sources, 4 facial muscle sources, a scalp, hair, eyes, and the ability to move along pre-recorded head motion trajectories. Next, he will demonstrate a novel EEG cleaning algorithm that he is currently in the process of patenting. The algorithm is capable of both offline and real-time cleaning and has been successfully validated with the electrical head phantom. Finally, Dr. Downey will preview some of his work studying the brain activity of older adults as they are challenged to walk over varying levels of uneven terrain.


Dr. Downey earned his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 2015 where his work focused on nonlinear control theory and functional electrical stimulation. He later joined the Stroke Recovery Research Center at the Medical University of South Carolina where he gained experience on a clinical trial and was first exposed to EEG (electroencephalography) as a neural assessment tool. Inspired to one day create brain computer interfaces for people with physical disabilities, Ryan returned to the University of Florida in 2018 to join the Human Neuromechanics Laboratory where his goal is to become an expert in mobile brain imaging. His work currently focuses on: (1) developing new signal processing algorithms that enable researchers to examine brain activity during whole body movement (without the detrimental effects of motion artifacts) and (2) understanding and predicting mobility decline in older adults with mobile brain imaging. Dr. Downey has received numerous awards for his contributions to science including a Best Dissertation award, a Best Paper award, and a Control Systems Technology award. He is also an NIH Loan Repayment Program awardee through the National Institute on Aging.