Artificial neural networks decode brain activity during performed and imagined movements
Filtering information for search engines, acting as an opponent during a board game or recognizing images: Artificial intelligence has far outpaced human intelligence in certain tasks. Several groups from the Freiburg excellence cluster BrainLinks-BrainTools led by neuroscientist private lecturer Dr. Tonio Ball are showing how ideas from computer science could revolutionize brain research.
In the scientific journal “Human Brain Mapping“ they illustrate how a self-learning algorithm decodes human brain signals that were measured by an electroencephalogram (EEG). It included performed movements, but also hand and foot movements that were merely thought or an imaginary rotation of objects.
Even though the algorithm was not given any characteristics ahead of time, it works as quickly and precisely as traditional systems that have been created to solve certain tasks based on predetermined brain signal characteristics, which are therefore not appropriate for every situation. The demand for such diverse intersections between man and machine is huge: At the University Hospital Freiburg, for instance, it could be used for early detection of epileptic seizures. It could also be used to improve communication possibilities for severely paralyzed patients or an automatic neurological diagnosis.
“Our software is based on brain-inspired models that have proven to be most helpful to decode various natural signals such as phonetic sounds,” says computer scientist Robin Tibor Schirrmeister. The researcher is using it to rewrite methods that the team has used for decoding EEG data: So-called artificial neural networks are the heart of the current project at BrainLinks-BrainTools.
“The great thing about the program is we needn’t predetermine any characteristics. The information is processed layer for layer, that is in multiple steps with the help of a non-linear function. The system learns to recognize and differentiate between certain behavioral patterns from various movements as it goes along,” explains Schirrmeister. The model is based on the connections between nerve cells in the human body in which electric signals from synapses are directed from cellular protuberances to the cell’s core and back again. “Theories have been in circulation for decades, but it wasn’t until the emergence of today’s computer processing power that the model has become feasible,” comments Schirrmeister.
Customarily, the model’s precision improves with a large number of processing layers. Up to 31 were used during the study, otherwise known as “Deep Learning”. Up until now, it had been problematic to interpret the network’s circuitry after the learning process had been completed. All algorithmic processes take place in the background and are invisible. That is why the researchers developed the software to create cards from which they could understand the decoding decisions.
The researchers can insert new datasets into the system at any time. “Unlike the old method, we are now able to go directly to the raw signals that the EEG records from the brain. Our system is as precise, if not better, than the old one,” says head investigator Tonio Ball, summarizing the study’s research contribution. The technology’s potential has yet to be exhausted – together with his team, the researcher would like to further pursue its development: “Our vision for the future includes self-learning algorithms that can reliably and quickly recognize the user’s various intentions based on their brain signals. In addition, such algorithms could assist neurological diagnoses.”
Schirrmeister RT, Springenberg JT, Fiederer LDJ, Glasstetter M, Eggensperger K, Tangermann, M, Hutter F, Burgard W, Ball T; Deep learning with convolutional neural networks for EEG decoding and visualization. 2017 Hum Brain Mapp. DOI: 10.1002/hbm.23730. URL: https://arxiv.org/abs/1703.05051.
Robin Tibor Schirrmeister
Translational Neurotechnology Lab
Cluster of Excellence BrainLinks-BrainTools
University of Freiburg
Tel.: 0761 270-93300
Rudolf-Werner Dreier | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
AI implications: Engineer's model lays groundwork for machine-learning device
18.08.2017 | Washington University in St. Louis
Smarter robot vacuum cleaners for automated office cleaning
15.08.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
25.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
25.08.2017 | Health and Medicine
25.08.2017 | Earth Sciences