Multi-electrode stimulation in somatosensory cortex increases probability of detection

Boubker Zaaimi, Ricardo Ruiz-Torres, Sara A. Solla, Lee E. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective. Brain machine interfaces (BMIs) that decode control signals from motor cortex have developed tremendously in the past decade, but virtually all rely exclusively on vision to provide feedback. There is now increasing interest in developing an afferent interface to replace natural somatosensation, much as the cochlear implant has done for the sense of hearing. Preliminary experiments toward a somatosensory neuroprosthesis have mostly addressed the sense of touch, but proprioception, the sense of limb position and movement, is also critical for the control of movement. However, proprioceptive areas of cortex lack the precise somatotopy of tactile areas. We showed previously that there is only a weak tendency for neighboring neurons in area 2 to signal similar directions of hand movement. Consequently, stimulation with the relatively large currents used in many studies is likely to activate a rather heterogeneous set of neurons. Approach. Here, we have compared the effect of single-electrode stimulation at subthreshold levels to the effect of stimulating as many as seven electrodes in combination. Main results. We found a mean enhancement in the sensitivity to the stimulus (d′) of 0.17 for pairs compared to individual electrodes (an increase of roughly 30%), and an increase of 2.5 for groups of seven electrodes (260%). Significance. We propose that a proprioceptive interface made up of several hundred electrodes may yield safer, more effective sensation than a BMI using fewer electrodes and larger currents.

Original languageEnglish
Article number056013
JournalJournal of Neural Engineering
Volume10
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2013

Bibliographical note

©2013 IOP Publishing Ltd. After the Embargo Period, the full text of the Accepted Manuscript may be made available on the non-commercial repository for anyone with an internet connection to read and download. After the Embargo Period a CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 licence applies to the Accepted Manuscript, in which case it may then only be posted under that CC BY-NC-ND licence provided that all the terms of the licence are adhered to, and any copyright notice and any cover sheet applied by IOP is not deleted or modified.

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