Electrical and Computer Engineering graduate student Allison Berman presented her Master’s thesis project at the CARE (Clinically Applied Rehabilitation Research and Engineering) Research Day on April 13th with co-authors Ethan Oblak, Prof. Jarrod Lewis-Peacock (Psychology) and Prof. James Sulzer (Mechanical Engineering). Their study uses fNIRS to guide motor task instructions that modulate sensorimotor brain activity to a desired level, ultimately leading towards a system to restore function following stroke.
The participant performs an isometric precision grip task with the force sensor (left) while their brain activity is recorded with fNIRS (right).
The goal of their study was to control the dosage of activity during neurofeedback with an adaptive controller. The adaptive controller is tested using a precision grip task (depicted above). The controller instructs participants to pinch at varying forces at every trial to help participants achieve a desired level of brain activity, compared to pinching at a constant, predetermined level of force. Berman and her colleagues are currently validating this model across multiple participants.