Brain-Computer Interfaces for Human Gait Restoration
Neurological conditions such as spinal cord injury (SCI) or stroke can cause significant gait impairments. These in turn have a profound effect on independence and quality of life of those affected. Sedentary lifestyle associated with these conditions can also lead to a number of medical comorbidities, which significantly augment their healthcare costs and presents a public health concern. In the U.S. alone, the primary and secondary healthcare costs associated with SCI and stroke are estimated to exceed $80 B/year. Currently, there are no biomedical solutions capable of reversing the loss of motor/sensory function after these conditions and best physiotherapies provide only a limited degree of recovery. Therefore, novel approaches to these conditions are in dire need. Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs), which aim to bypass neurological lesions by means of neurotechnology, may be a promising new approach to these conditions. In this presentation I will discuss how BCIs can be used for either neuroprosthetic or neurorehabilitation purposes to address gait impairments after SCI or stroke. Most of our work has been in the domain of noninvasive electroencephalogram-based BCIs, but some of our recent studies have explored the utility of invasive electrocorticogram-based BCIs.
Zoran Nenadic received a Diploma degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Belgrade (Serbia) and his M.S. and D.Sc. degrees in Systems Science and Mathematics from Washington University (St. Louis, MO). He was subsequently a postdoctoral scholar in Mechanical Engineering at California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, CA). Since 2005, he has been with the Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) at University of California Irvine, where he is currently a full professor.
His research interests lie in neuroengineering with a focus on the development of technologies to restore or rehabilitate functions lost due to neurological conditions, such as spinal cord injury or stroke. His primary source of research support has been the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Health. He has received several research awards, including the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award from the NSF and the Hiruma-Wagner Award from the Japanese Research Foundation for Opto-Science and Technology. His research accomplishments have been featured in numerous media outlets, including Time Magazine, Reuters, Fox Business, and The Doctors. For his teaching efforts, he received multiple BME Professor of the Year distinctions from the Engineering Student Council.