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In bi-directional brain-machine interfaces (BMIs), precisely controlling the delivery of microstimulation, both in space and in time, is critical to continuously modulate the neural activity patterns that carry information about the state of the brain-actuated device to sensory areas in the brain. In this paper, we investigate the use of neural feedback to control the spatiotemporal firing patterns of neural ensembles in a model of the thalamocortical pathway. Control of pyramidal (PY) cells in the primary somatosensory cortex (S1) is achieved based on microstimulation of thalamic relay cells through multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) feedback controllers. This closed loop feedback control mechanism is achieved by simultaneously varying the stimulation parameters across multiple stimulation electrodes in the thalamic circuit based on continuous monitoring of the difference between reference patterns and the evoked responses of the cortical PY cells. We demonstrate that it is feasible to achieve a desired level of performance by controlling the firing activity pattern of a few “key” neural elements in the network. Our results suggest that neural feedback could be an effective method to facilitate the delivery of information to the cortex to substitute lost sensory inputs in cortically controlled BMIs.
Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:19 , Issue: 5 )
Date of Publication: Oct. 2011