The study of brain function and the clinical treatment of its diseases, such as movement disorders and epilepsy, have greatly benefited from technical tools that interact with neuronal signals both at the microscopic and macroscopic level. However, more patient groups could benefit from successfully meeting neurotechnology's scientific, medical, and technical challenges.
Our scientific goal is to reach a new level in the interaction between technical instruments and the brain, allowing them to truly communicate with each other. This requires the development of flexible yet stable, and adaptive yet robust applications of brain-machine interface systems.
BrainLinks-BrainTools is a joint effort of neuroscientists, engineers, and computer scientists to exploit the activity of the brain to control implanted and external systems. It will focus on signals at the mesoscopic level - joint signals from whole groups of nerve cells.
are brain-controlled assistive devices and prostheses that improve the capacity for movements in paralyzed patients and amputees, and improve the rehabilitation of patients suffering from stroke or brain trauma. LiNCs will read out a user’s conscious action goal and autonomously execute it through external actuators, for example a robotic arm. They can help patients to regain more autonomy in everyday life.
are fully implanted, autonomous devices. They work with a closed-loop feedback, recording from and stimulating the brain in cases of neurological conditions that originate from pathological network structures or activity dynamics. Epilepsy and Parkinson's disease are examples for such "diseases of dynamics". Ideally, SEAMs will remain unperceived by the user - except for their beneficial effects.
In order to successfully implement the platforms LiNC and SEAM, different areas of research and expertise have to contribute. In our cluster of excellence, there are three of these large research areas - the pillars that will jointly enable us to reach our goals: