Decoding and Modulation of Human Language

Summary

Principal Investigators: Behnaam Aazhang, PhD – Rice and Nitin Tandon, MD - UT Health
Title: Micro-scale Real-time Decoding and Closed-loop Modulation of Human Language
BRAIN Category: Neuroengineering and Brain-inspired concepts and design

The engineering objective is to develop biocompatible microchips to vastly enhance our insight into language and other cognitive processes and learning.

Principal Investigators: Behnaam Aazhang, PhD – Rice and Nitin Tandon, MD – UT Health
Title: Micro-scale Real-time Decoding and Closed-loop Modulation of Human Language
BRAIN Category: Neuroengineering and Brain-inspired concepts and design 

The engineering objective is to develop biocompatible microchips to vastly enhance our insight into language and other cognitive processes and learning. Miniaturized microchips in silicon technology will be developed that can record neural signals, digitize them, and transmit the signals to an in vitro receiver wirelessly.

Image from Tandon's Neuroimaging and Electrophysiology Lab

Image from Tandon’s Neuroimaging and Electrophysiology Lab

Abstract

Award Number: #1533688

Humans produce language, which is a defining characteristic of our species and our civilization. We can select words precisely out of a large lexicon with remarkably low error rates. It is perhaps not surprising that this complex speech production system is easily affected by disease. Brain damage induced language disorders affect millions of Americans, and there is little hope of remediation. Research on the anatomical, physiological, and computational bases of speech production has made important strides in recent years but this has been limited by a glaring lack of information on the dynamics of the process. This limitation results from the low spatio-temporal resolution of the available tools to collect data and the effectiveness of the current tools for analysis. Our driving vision in this project is to develop an unparalleled understanding of cortical connectivity in the human language system at small spatio-temporal scales. We possess much expertise in signal decoding of the processes of cued word production with intracranial recording techniques, as well as using cortical stimulation to modulate the system. FDA-approved arrays will be used to perform closed-loop decoding of sensorimotor processes during speech production and transient neuromodulation of the language system in patients with epilepsy undergoing intracranial electrode placement for the localization of seizures. Ultimately though, the fine-grained understanding and representation of sensorimotor loops in the language system necessitates the development of ultra-small energy efficient detectors that will enable the knowledge gained in this exploratory project to be eventually applied in patients who have sustained neurological injuries that have resulted in pervasive language impairments. This integrative project brings innovative microelectronics technologies together with state of the art large data analysis techniques to begin to develop a first of its kind system to remediate language disorders.

The engineering objective is to develop biocompatible microchips to vastly enhance our insight into language and other cognitive processes and learning. Miniaturized microchips in silicon technology will be developed that can record neural signals, digitize them, and transmit the signals to an in vitro receiver wirelessly. The three-fold thrust of the project will be integrated when the PIs develop closed-loop real time decoding and transient neuromodulation system based on a population of miniaturized detectors and neuromodulators. The system has the potential to provide an unprecedented detailed understanding of the human language system and provide the framework and hardware for neural prosthetics in patients with aphasia and other language disorders. The project embodies multiple high-risk goals that have the potential to shift neuroengineering paradigm from recording and modulating in only a few regions of the brain to deploying a population of ultra-small and energy efficient detectors-modulators.

NSF Project Information

NSF webpage: nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1533688&HistoricalAwards

NSF Org: ECCS   Div Of Electrical, Commun & Cyber Sys

Start Date:  August 1, 2015      End Date: July 31, 2018 (Estimated)

Awarded Amount to Date: $363,640.00

Investigator(s): Behnaam Aazhang aaz@rice.edu (Principal Investigator)
Aydin Babakhani (Co-Principal Investigator)

NSF Program(s): BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING, IntgStrat Undst Neurl&Cogn Sys

Program Reference Code(s): 8089, 8091, 8551

Sponsor: William Marsh Rice University
6100 MAIN ST
Houston, TX 77005-1827 (713)348-4820

NSF Project Information

NSF webpage: nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1533664&HistoricalAwards

NSF Org: ECCS   Div Of Electrical, Commun & Cyber Sys

Start Date:  August 1, 2015      End Date: July 31, 2018 (Estimated)

Awarded Amount to Date: 720,000.00

Investigator(s): Nitin Tandon nitin.tandon@uth.tmc.edu (Principal Investigator)

NSF Program(s): BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING, IntgStrat Undst Neurl&Cogn Sys

Program Reference Code(s): 8089, 8091, 8551

Sponsor: University of Texas Health Science Center Houston
7000 FANNIN ST
HOUSTON, TX 77030-5400 (713)500-3999

 

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