The Robotics Institute

RI | Seminar | September 24

Robotics Institute Seminar, September 24
Time and Place | Seminar Abstract | Speaker Biography | Speaker Appointments

Neural Motor Prostheses: Directly Coupling Brains and Machines to Restore Lost Function

Michael Black

Department of Computer Science

Brown University



Time and Place

NSH 3305
3:15 pm
3:30 pm



Building a direct, artificial, connection between the brain and the world requires answers to the following questions:

1. What "signals" can we measure from the brain?  From what regions? With what technology?

2. How is information represented (or encoded) in the brain?

3. What algorithms can we use to infer (or decode) the internal "state" of the brain?

4. How can we build practical interfaces that exploit the available technology?


This talk will summarize work at Brown on developing neural prostheses and will provide preliminary answers to the above questions with a focus on the problem of modeling and decoding motor cortical activity. Recent work has shown that linear models can be used to approximate the firing rates of a population of cells in primary motor cortex as a function of the position, velocity, and acceleration of the hand.  I will describe a real-time Kalman filter for inferring (or decoding) hand motion from the firing rates of a population of cells recorded with a chronically implanted microelectrode array.  I will show recent results with direct neural control of smooth 2D cursor motion and will suggest future applications for brain machine interfaces and neural robot control.


Speaker Biography


Michael Black received his Ph.D. in computer science from Yale University in 1992.  He has been a visiting researcher at the NASA Ames Research Center and an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Computer Science at the University of Toronto.  In 1993 Prof. Black joined the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center where he managed the Image Understanding area and later founded the Digital Video Analysis group. In 2000, Prof. Black joined the faculty of Brown University where he holds the position of Professor of Computer Science.  At CVPR'91 he received the IEEE Computer Society Outstanding Paper Award for his work with P. Anandan on robust optical flow estimation.  In 1999 his paper with David Fleet on probabilistic detection and tracking of motion discontinuities received Honorable Mention for the Marr Prize. Prof. Black's research interests include optical flow estimation, human motion analysis, robust statistics, and brain-computer interfaces.



Speaker Appointments

For appointments, please contact Takeo Kanade

Related Material

  •  Presentation (pdf)

The Robotics Institute is part of the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University.