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Silvestro MICERA "Decoding grasping primitives from premotor cortex: towards a multi-area BMI ? "

Abstract :

Grasping-related neurons in the ventral premotor area F5 display a preference for the grasping of an object or a set of objects.
Half of the neurons also respond to the presentation of an object or a set of objects, even when a grasping movement was not required (visuomotor neurons). Often the object evoking the strongest activity during grasping also evokes optimal activity during its visual presentation. However, it is not known to which extent such neural coding could be implemented to classify different grips in order to develop a neural prosthesis. Investigating the possibility of decoding information from these neurons about a type of grip is very interesting from both a theoretical and a clinical perspective. To this end, the activities of F5 grasping-related neurons have been used as inputs to several pattern recognition algorithms. The features exploited for the decoding were the mean firing rate and the mean interspike interval calculated over different time spans of the movement period (all neurons) or of the object presentation period (visuomotor neurons). We successfully decoded accurate and robust information about the type of grip using either the movement related discharge or the discharge during the object presentation period. Thus, it is feasible to implement an invasive cortical neural prosthesis for the extraction of commands from grasping-related premotor cortical signals that could eventually control dexterous multi degrees of freedom hand prosthesis.

Selected publications

Double nerve intraneural interface implant on a human amputee for robotic hand control. Rossini PM, Micera S, et al .Clin Neurophysiol. 2010 Jan 26. [Epub ahead of print]
On the control of a robot hand by extracting neural signals from the PNS: Preliminary results from a human implantation. Micera S et al .Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2009;1:4586-9.

Scientific focus :

Silvestro Micera received the University degree (Laurea) in Electrical Engineering from the University of Pisa, in 1996, and the Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Engineering from the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, in 2000. During 1999, he was a Visiting Student at the Aalborg University. From 2000 to 2009, he has been an Assistant Professor of BioRobotics at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna where he is now the Head of the Neural Engineering group. In 2007 he was a Visiting Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA with a Fulbright Scholarship. From 2008 he is the Head of the Neuroprosthesis Control group and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Institute for Automation, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, CH. In 2009 he was the recipient of the “Early Career Achievement Award” of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society.
Dr. Micera’s research interests include the development of hybrid neuroprosthetic systems (interfacing the central and peripheral nervous systems with artificial systems) and of mechatronic and robotic systems for function and assessment restoration in disabled and elderly persons.
He is author of several scientific papers and international patents. He served as Guest Editor of several biomedical engineering journals. He is currently Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering and of IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering. He is also member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation and Deputy Editor in Chief of the IEEE EMB Magazine.

Erwan Bezard