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Closing the sensorimotor loop: Haptic feedback facilitates decoding of arm movement imagery

Manuel Gomez-Rodriguez; Jan Peters; N. Jeremy Hill; Bernhard Schölkopf; Alireza Gharabaghi; Moritz Grosse-Wentrup
In: 2010 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics. IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics (SMC-2010), October 10-13, Istanbul, Turkey, Pages 121-126, IEEE, 2010.


The combination of brain–computer interfaces (BCIs) with robot-assisted physical therapy constitutes a promising approach to neurorehabilitation of patients with severe hemiparetic syndromes caused by cerebrovascular brain damage (eg stroke) and other neurological conditions. In such a scenario, a key aspect is how to reestablish the disrupted sensorimotor feedback loop. However, to date it is an open question how artificially closing the sensorimotor feedback loop influences the decoding performance of a BCI. In this paper, we answer this issue by studying six healthy subjects and two stroke patients. We present empirical evidence that haptic feedback, provided by a seven degrees of freedom robotic arm, facilitates online decoding of arm movement intention. The results support the feasibility of future rehabilitative treatments based on the combination of robot-assisted physical therapy with BCIs.

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