In this paper we propose a Rapid Prototyping Environment (RPE) for real-time biosignal analysis including ECG, EEG, ECoG and EMG of humans and animals requiring a very precise time resolution. Based on the previous RPE which was mainly designed for developing Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI), the present solution offers tools for data preprocessing, analysis and visualization even in the case of high sampling rates and furthermore tools for precise cognitive stimulation. One application of the system, the analysis of multi-unit activity measured from the brain of a rat is presented to prove the efficiency of the proposed environment. The experimental setup was used to design and implement a biomimetic, biohybrid model for demonstrating the recovery of a learning function lost with age. Throughout the paper we discuss the components of the setup, the software structure and the online visualization. At the end we present results of a real-time experiment in which the model of the brain learned to react to the acquired signals.
"The system under evaluation (Figure 1) implements a real-time model of cerebellar learning that is driven by signals recorded directly from the PN and IO, detecting CS and US events from these recording channels, respectively. The output of the neuroprosthetic system is linked to a microstimulator targeting the facial nucleus (FN), where proper stimulation would evoke well-timed CRs, with latencies matched to the biological circuit being replaced (see Prueckl et al., 2011a for specifics on the physiology of this experiment). Since in our preparation, the acquisition of natural CRs is precluded by anesthesia, any overt CRs observed in the experiment are the result from associative learning occurring solely within the synthetic system. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Emulating the input–output functions performed by a brain structure opens the possibility for developing neuroprosthetic systems that replace damaged neuronal circuits. Here, we
demonstrate the feasibility of this approach by replacing the cerebellar circuit responsible
for the acquisition and extinction of motor memories. Specifically, we show that a rat
can undergo acquisition, retention, and extinction of the eye-blink reflex even though the
biological circuit responsible for this task has been chemically inactivated via anesthesia.
This is achieved by first developing a computational model of the cerebellar microcircuit
involved in the acquisition of conditioned reflexes and training it with synthetic data generated based on physiological recordings. Secondly, the cerebellar model is interfaced with the brain of an anesthetized rat, connecting the model’s inputs and outputs to afferent and efferent cerebellar structures. As a result, we show that the anesthetized rat, equipped with our neuroprosthetic system, can be classically conditioned to the acquisition of an eye-blink response. However, non-stationarities in the recorded biological signals limit the performance of the cerebellar model.Thus, we introduce an updated cerebellar model and validate it with physiological recordings showing that learning becomes stable and reliable. The resulting system represents an important step toward replacing lost functions of the central nervous system via neuroprosthetics, obtained by integrating a synthetic circuit with the afferent and efferent pathways of a damaged brain region. These results also embody an early example of science-based medicine, where on the one hand the neuroprosthetic system directly validates a theory of cerebellar learning that informed the design of the system, and on the other one it takes a step toward the development of neuro-prostheses that could recover lost learning functions in animals and, in the longer term, humans.
Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology 05/2014; 2:14. DOI:10.3389/fbioe.2014.00014
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present a hypothetical process of mind coalescence, where artificial connections are created between two or more brains. This might simply allow for an improved form of communication. At the other extreme, it might merge the minds into one in a process that can be thought of as a reverse split-brain operation. We propose that one way mind coalescence might happen is via an exocortex, a prosthetic extension of the biological brain which integrates with the brain as seamlessly as parts of the biological brain integrate with each other. An exocortex may also prove to be the easiest route for mind uploading, as a person's personality gradually moves away from the aging biological brain and onto the exocortex. Memories might also be copied and shared even without minds being permanently merged. Over time, the borders of personal identity may become loose or even unnecessary.
International Journal of Machine Consciousness 06/2012; 04(01). DOI:10.1142/S1793843012400173
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