Making brain-machine interfaces robust to future neural variability

Nat Commun. 2016 Dec 13:7:13749. doi: 10.1038/ncomms13749.


A major hurdle to clinical translation of brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) is that current decoders, which are trained from a small quantity of recent data, become ineffective when neural recording conditions subsequently change. We tested whether a decoder could be made more robust to future neural variability by training it to handle a variety of recording conditions sampled from months of previously collected data as well as synthetic training data perturbations. We developed a new multiplicative recurrent neural network BMI decoder that successfully learned a large variety of neural-to-kinematic mappings and became more robust with larger training data sets. Here we demonstrate that when tested with a non-human primate preclinical BMI model, this decoder is robust under conditions that disabled a state-of-the-art Kalman filter-based decoder. These results validate a new BMI strategy in which accumulated data history are effectively harnessed, and may facilitate reliable BMI use by reducing decoder retraining downtime.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Brain-Computer Interfaces*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Nerve Net*