Over the last decade, neuroscientists have made
significant breakthroughs in understanding the relationship between
individual firing patterns of neurons in the motor cortex, and
arm/hand motion. As a result, it is now possible, given measurements
of neural activity, to "decode" the hand position, that is, to
compute real-time approximations of actual hand position.
This could potentially lead to the development
of a new generation of robotic prosthetic devices for people who
have lost limbs. I will discuss the existing technology, present
real data measured in a monkey's motor cortex, and argue that
significant improvements in decoding quality can be obtained
by (1) building a formal statistical model, and (2) applying
a recently-developed technique known as "particle filtering".
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Pradeep Ravikumar Last modified: Fri Feb 27 08:34:47 EST 2004