Research

Current Research Projects

Brain-Computer Interface for home-use application

Home-use BCI Logo

There are several diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which can lead to a loss of the ability to communicate. As a healthy person one cannot imagine what it feels like to be trapped in one’s own body - mentally present, but unable to communicate with relatives, this is called locked-in syndrome. However, a distinction must be made between locked-in and complete locked-in syndrome (CLIS). For the former, those affected can still voluntarily control certain muscles, above all the eye muscles, which in turn can be used for communication. Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs), i.e. systems that allow to control a computer by pure brain activity, have proven to be a helpful method for restoring the ability to communicate. However, all recent BCI systems are almost exclusively used in research, since all previous methods are not suitable for real-world applications. This is mainly due to the fact that for a meaningful and independent use, the recognition of the user’s intention (to control the system or not) must be highly accurate. Otherwise, this leads to random classifications/commands, which can be dangerous depending on the application, for example when controlling an electric wheelchair.

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Context-sensitive neural-controlled hand-exoskeleton for restoration of everyday-capability and autonomy after brain and spinal cord injuries

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The development of robotic systems that interacts with the human nervous system, promise to improve the autonomy, quality of life, and capability of people with disabilities. Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) can be used to translate the electrical brain activity into control signals of a robotic exoskeleton. Therefore, it is possible to restore grasping movements of a paralyzed hand by interpreting the neural correlates of the movement. For lack of signal quality, BCI systems based on non-invasive methods, e.g. electroencephalography (EEG), can only be used limited in everyday situations.

In the project CONSENS-NHE we develope a non-invasive and everyday suitable neural-controlled hand-exoskeleton, targeting the compensation of a paralyzed hand, as it can occur after strokes or spinal cord injuries. Within the project the latest methods of machine learning, optical object-recognition, movement analysis, and biological inspired design for robotic systems are combined with neurorehabilitative research. The system will allow people with hand paralysis to grasp and manipulate different objects of everyday life. For direct control of the hand-exoskeleton, the grasping intention is identified based on neural signals measured on the scalp using EEG.

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Entwurf und Architektur Eingebetteter Systeme (EAES) (Kooperatives Promotionskolleg)

Kontext:

Das baden-württembergische Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst stellt zehn Doktoranden-Stipendien zur Stärkung des Forschungs- und Wirtschaftsstandorts Baden-Würrtemberg im Rahmen des Promotionskollegs “Entwurf und Architektur eingebetteter Systeme (EAES)” zur Verfügung.

Mit dem Promotionskolleg soll dem wissenschaftlichen Nachwuchs die Erweiterung seines Grundlagenwissens sowie der Erwerb zusätzlicher technischer und allgemeinbildender Qualifikationen ermöglicht werden. Hierzu werden die jungen Nachwuchswissenschaftler im Rahmen zahlreicher Veranstaltungen über den Zeitraum von drei Jahren strukturiert zur Promotion geführt.

An dem Promotionskolleg sind die folgenden Studiengänge beteiligt:

  • Masterstudiengang Informatik der Universität Tübingen
  • Masterstudiengang Bioinformatik der Universität Tübingen
  • Masterstudiengang Embedded Systems der Hochschule Pforzheim
  • Masterstudiengang Information Systems der Hochschule Pforzheim

Sprecher für das Promotionskolleg sind:

Prof. Dr. Thomas Greiner, Hochschule Pforzheim

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Rosenstiel, Universität Tübingen

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Neuro-muscular modelling and analysis of gait abnormalities in early hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP)

Hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) is a group of hereditary, slowly progressive neurological movement disorders characterized by spastic gait disorder. Degeneration of nerve cells in the spinal cord leads on the one hand to progressive spasticity (pathological increase in muscle tension, hyperreflexia) in certain groups of the leg muscles, while other groups are affected by muscle weakness.

For a more detailed understanding of the progressive nerve degeneration and the associated movement impairments as well as the development of assistance systems such as functional electrostimulation (FES), the early, pre-clinical phase of the disease is of particular interest, when the typical clinical symptoms have not yet become visible.

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RESIST II - Resilienzbewertung von Wahrnehmungs- und Planungsansätzen in kooperativ interagierenden Automobilen bei unerwarteten Störungen

Functional safety of fully automated and autonomous vehicles is one of the main challenges of the upcoming years. A fully automated vehicle must not only remain in a safe driving state under ideal conditions, but also in the event of unforeseen situations. The use of cooperatively interacting strategies further complicates ensuring sufficient resilience against these unforeseeable situations and unexpected disturbances. To qualify a vehicle with fully automated driving functions in accordance with ISO 26262, it currently has to complete one billion test kilometers on the road.

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Past Research Projects