Selecting the signals for a brain-machine interface

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2004 Dec;14(6):720-6. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2004.10.005.


Brain-machine interfaces are being developed to assist paralyzed patients by enabling them to operate machines with recordings of their own neural activity. Recent studies show that motor parameters, such as hand trajectory, and cognitive parameters, such as the goal and predicted value of an action, can be decoded from the recorded activity to provide control signals. Neural prosthetics that use simultaneously a variety of cognitive and motor signals can maximize the ability of patients to communicate and interact with the outside world. Although most studies have recorded electroencephalograms or spike activity, recent research shows that local field potentials (LFPs) offer a promising additional signal. The decode performances of LFPs and spike signals are comparable and, because LFP recordings are more long lasting, they might help to increase the lifetime of the prosthetics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Paralysis / therapy*
  • Prostheses and Implants / trends*
  • Robotics / trends*
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • User-Computer Interface*