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Brain Computer Interface (BCI) Controlled Walking Simulator
Zoran Nenadic, D.Sc., UC Irvine
Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Luis Chui, M.D., UC Irvine, VA Long Beach
Health Sciences Clinical Professor of Neurology, UC Irvine MDA/ALS and Neuromuscular Center; Attending Physician, director of Outpatient Neurology and neuromuscular clinics. Long Beach Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
An Do, M.D., UC Irvine
Resident Physician in Neurology, University of California, Irvine Medical Center

Individuals with paraplegia from spinal cord injury (SCI) are unable to walk. With no biomedical solution, technology such as functional electrical stimulation (FES) has been used to restore ambulation in these individuals. These devices are still inefficient and unintuitive. An electroencephalogram (EEG) driven Brain Computer Interface (BCI), can be integrated with FES devices to restore brain-driven, intuitive control of ambulation in paraplegic SCI patients. BCI is a new technology of brain electrophysiologic signal interpretation that allows a person to use thought to control an electromechanical device. However, the lack of understanding of the neurophysiology of the brain during human
locomotion prevents us from readily combining BCIs and FES devices. Current EEG data from our lab suggest the existence of frontocentral slow cortical potential changes associated with a state of ambulation. In this project renewal, we aim to complete the characterization of the changes in EEG signals as healthy and paraplegic individuals are engaged in real and/or imagined gait. EEG data will be recorded from healthy control subjects while they are engaged in real and imagined gait with modulation events such as change of direction and velocity. Likewise EEG will be recorded in SCI subjects with paraplegia while they engage in imaginary casual gait with the modulation events as above. We then analyze the collected EEG data to characterize the changes during the various phases of human gait. These changes will be used to design, implement, and test a BCI computer program that allows an individual to control the ambulation of a virtual reality avatar using the imagination of walking.

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