Research Area N - Neurotechnology

Brain-related technical applications and neuroprosthetics

Brain Computer Interface ©Research Group Gharabaghi/CIN

Coordinators: Prof. Michael Black, Prof. Martin Giese, Prof. Alexander Verl

Progress in neuroscience has influenced technology, enabling applications that link technical systems and the brain. Examples are neuroprosthetic devices that improve lost or impaired brain functions, exploiting powerful techniques such as the optimised decoding or encoding of neural signals using approaches derived from machine learning. Such applications have a strong tradition in Tübingen, leading in the last funding period to important milestones such as the development of viable subretinal implants (Institute for Ophthalmic Research) and a variety of brain-computer interface (BCI) systems (Institute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology), the latter interfacing with cortical and subcortical structures whose signals are read out with invasive and non-invasive recording techniques. 

© Fraunhofer IPA, CIN

These neuroprosthetic approaches have been complemented by the development of new training and rehabilitation strategies, exploiting advanced technical interfaces, including robots and haptic feedback devices. These achievements form the basis for the development of a new generation of brain-machine interfaces and rehabilitation devices, enabling support in complex situations with high relevance for everyday life. The development of such systems have started in the context of several tight collaborations between the University Clinic (Department of Cognitive Neurology) and the Fraunhofer IPA, or between the MPI for Biological Cybernetics and the Department of Neurosurgery. The further development of this work will integrate essential methods in machine learning, computer vision and robotics that are being developed at the newly founded MPI for Intelligent Systems.