Advancing MEG based Brain-Computer Interface Supported Upper Limb Post-Stroke Rehabilitation

This project is primarily focused on upper limb movement restoration of post-stroke individuals with movement impairments.


  Project Funders

UK India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI)

  Funding Amount

£144,546

About the Project

This project is funded by UK India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI)  phase-III and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) Government of India under the DST-UKIERI Thematic Partnership program (DST-UKIERI-2016-17/0128).

This international collaborative project has three main components brain-computer interface (BCI), exoskeleton, and rehabilitation which are being undertaken under respective leaders Professor Girijesh Prasad of Ulster’s Neural Systems and Neuro-technology Research Team , Professor Ashish Dutta of Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK) India , and Professor Suzanne McDonough of Ulster’s Institute of Nursing and Health Research  under the co-ordination  of the PI Professor Prasad.

This project is primarily focused on upper limb movement restoration of post-stroke individuals with movement impairments. Due to stroke, some of the brain areas may get damaged. The post-stroke rehabilitation exercises need to be done with very high focus so as to activate relevant areas appropriately for recovery through plastic reorganization. For this, main project objectives are to:

This project is funded by UK India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI)  phase-III and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) Government of India under the DST-UKIERI Thematic Partnership program (DST-UKIERI-2016-17/0128).

This international collaborative project has three main components brain-computer interface (BCI), exoskeleton, and rehabilitation which are being undertaken under respective leaders Professor Girijesh Prasad of Ulster’s Computational Neuroscience and Neuro-technology Research Team, Professor Ashish Dutta of Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK) India , and Professor Suzanne McDonough of Ulster’s Institute of Nursing and Health Research  under the co-ordination  of the PI Professor Prasad.

This project is primarily focused on upper limb movement restoration of post-stroke individuals with movement impairments. Due to stroke, some of the brain areas may get damaged. The post-stroke rehabilitation exercises need to be done with very high focus so as to activate relevant areas appropriately for recovery through plastic reorganization. For this, main project objectives are to:

  • Develop an advanced brain-computer interface (BCI) that can set the target activation level and provide neurofeedback regarding the actual activation level using magnetoencephalography (MEG), having highest spatio-temporal resolution
  • Devise a BCI controlled robotic exoskeleton to help perform appropriate upper limb exercises, in case of partial or total disability
  • Conduct pilot trials to evaluate the efficacy of the complete system in movement restoration of stroke survivors

Projected key outcomes

Advanced MEG based Brain-Computer Interface Supported Upper Limb Rehabilitation system

The project will result in a product that would be beneficial for rehabilitation of stroke patients. The upper limb exoskeleton along with the BCI controller will be the first MEG compatible exoskeleton that can be used both for research and rehabilitation practice.

Thanks to the high spatial resolution of the MEG system, and the short preparation time, it will be possible to offer rehabilitation sessions that are more efficient for the patient as the quality of the signal will be higher, and the precision of the neurofeedback will be therefore significantly improved.

Human resources development

Six senior researchers (faculty members) and four post graduate/research associate/Ph.D students will directly participate in the project activities. The students will be trained in a highly advanced BCI supported neuro-rehabilitation technology.

Through exchange visits, all research students will greatly benefit from high quality expertise available in the partner institutions. Other existing researchers working in related R&D activities in the two institutions will also benefit through interactions with visiting researchers.

Exchange of Knowledge

The UU group  is part of Intelligent Systems Research  Centre (ISRC) which is an internationally recognised centre of excellence in the areas of intelligent systems, BCI, and assistive technology. The UU group is one of the 10 groups in UK to have a MEG machine. The IITK group are one of the internationally leading research groups in design and fabrication of exoskeletons and robots. The exoskeleton design and development in India and its MEG based controller development under the supervision of UK team will complement the expertise existing in both the institutions, resulting in a new product that is expected to be better and cheaper than those existing today.

Scientific Contributions

Successful project completion will lead to the following outcomes

  • The development of a new product for rehabilitation of people with upper limb impairments primarily due to stroke, will be highly useful to both the countries.
  • Research outcomes from the project have the potential to provide promising new directions for designing assistive robotic systems actuated by BCI.

Knowledge transfer and training

The developed prototype tested on stroke sufferers would be offered to interested companies for commercialising the product in both the countries.  On request, training can be offered to staff from industrial partners.


Researchers

Dr Hubert Cecotti