Dr. Oweiss spoke on April 19th, 2012 at the Massacheusetts Institute of Technology. His visit was hosted by Prof. Ed Boyden, Associate Professor at the MIT Media Lab. An abstract of his talk entitled "Conversing with the Brain" can be found below.
"Our ultimate understanding of the brain as a complex system is reflected in our ability to predict its dynamics in the normal state and eventually control these dynamics in the pathological state. Brain machine interfaces (BMIs), a direct communication pathway between the brain and a man-made device, offer an unprecedented opportunity to understand brain dynamics and to improve the lifestyle of many neurologically impaired subjects. For BMIs to optimally operate, some means of bi-directional translation should occur between the signals that the brain uses for its internal communication and those used by the machine to achieve a desired functional outcome.
I will briefly discuss a readout methodology we’ve recently established to characterize the spiking activity of large populations of neurons to help interpret the information they represent. This methodology also helps address some persistent questions that arise when decoding motor intent of subjects attempting to actuate neuroprosthetic devices. Most importantly, I will discuss how this methodology can be used to develop write-in strategies that optimizes microstimulation of neural ensembles through electrical or optogenetic techniques. I will conclude with a brief overview of our efforts to engineer a wireless, fully implantable system for large-scale bi-directional neural interfaces that would be pivotal to rapidly accelerate the deployment of BMIs in clinical applications."