Single-trial decoding of movement intentions using functional ultrasound neuroimaging

Neuron. 2021 May 5;109(9):1554-1566.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2021.03.003. Epub 2021 Mar 22.


New technologies are key to understanding the dynamic activity of neural circuits and systems in the brain. Here, we show that a minimally invasive approach based on ultrasound can be used to detect the neural correlates of movement planning, including directions and effectors. While non-human primates (NHPs) performed memory-guided movements, we used functional ultrasound (fUS) neuroimaging to record changes in cerebral blood volume with 100 μm resolution. We recorded from outside the dura above the posterior parietal cortex, a brain area important for spatial perception, multisensory integration, and movement planning. We then used fUS signals from the delay period before movement to decode the animals' intended direction and effector. Single-trial decoding is a prerequisite to brain-machine interfaces, a key application that could benefit from this technology. These results are a critical step in the development of neuro-recording and brain interface tools that are less invasive, high resolution, and scalable.

Keywords: Brain-machine interface; Non-human primate; Posterior parietal Cortex; Reach; Saccade; functional ultrasound neuroimaging; movement planning; single-trial decoding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Brain-Computer Interfaces
  • Intention*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Male
  • Movement
  • Neuroimaging / instrumentation
  • Neuroimaging / methods*
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Ultrasonography / instrumentation
  • Ultrasonography / methods*