Neural Systems and Neuro-technology Research Team
The Neural Systems and Neuro-technology (NSNT) research team is led by Professor Girijesh Prasad. The team's work focuses on analysis of neuronal dynamics involved in performing cognitive tasks as well as autonomic functions in resting state. Currently there is greater emphasis on investigating variations in functional and effective connectivities among various brain regions during cognitive processes and pathological conditions. This is primarily for advancing diagnosis and devising stratified treatment & rehabilitation strategies for nervous system disorders such as stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, ALS, spinal chord injuries, depression, and epileptic seizures. The brain signals acquired through non-invasive neuro-imaging modalities of EEG and MEG are primarily made use of in our investigations.
The NSNT research team specializes in developing non-invasive brain-computer interface (BCI) systems with the primary objective of increasing independence and improving quality of life of people with disabilities due to old age, injury or disease. Brain-computer interface (BCI) systems facilitate real-time translation of voluntary brain activities (acquired from electrophysiological signals such as EEG and MEG) into commands to control devices. They do not rely on muscular activity and can therefore provide communication and control for those who are severely paralyzed (e.g. locked-in) due to disease, spinal chord injury or brain damage. Other applications of BCI include neurofeedback for stroke rehabilitation, epileptic seizure prediction, awareness detection for long distance drivers and personalised computing environment adaptation. BCI is also emerging as an augmentative technology in computer games and virtual reality applications and has been associated with numerous military applications.
The NSNT team at the ISRC have been developing a non-invasive EEG-based brain-computer interface technology for the past several years and have made substantive progress in developing sophisticated computational intelligence (CI) based bio-signal processing tools to address many of the challenges in BCI technology. The team’s work has attracted substantial funding from Research Councils UK (RCUK), UK India Educational Research Intitive (UKIERI), Royal Society, and other local and national funding agencies. Having published in many of the top BCI journals and conference proceedings, being internationally recognized as a BCI research group, receiving an international award for CI based research into BCI and in receipt of significant funding for BCI research, the ISRC is well established in this field and positioned to develop a range of BCI applications and related technologies for those who need it most. With significant progress underway on the critically important bio-signal processing elements of BCI, the team is now focused on developing a range of BCI related technologies such as,
BCI for alternative communication and entertainment technologies
- BCI actuated assistive robotic
- BCI based neurofeedback for neurorehabilitation
- BCI related neurotechnologies for disease prediction and diagnostics
Having a range of collaborative links with local companies and healthcare providers, the BCI and related applications R&D at the ISRC will be thoroughly tested in a clinical setting, with the aims of bringing BCI technology into the home and establishing a world class reputation for BCI R&D.
Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) Laboratory
Our very well resourced BCI lab is equiped with:
- An EMF shielded room.
- A state-of-art BCI experimental setup with 56 EEG channels, and 8 EMG channels (g.BSamp system).
- 4/8 EEG/EMG channel mobile unit (g.MOBIlab).
- A state-of-art 16 channel USB amplifier based EEG/EMG/ECG/EOG mobile unit (g.USBamp).
- Multiple electrode systems: passive, active and dry electrodes.
- A comprehensive bio-signal acquisition and processing system for measuring respiration, heart-rate, galvanic skin response, skin temperature, oxygen saturation and eye-gaze.
- A Computerised smart wheelchair system for mobility control test.
Northern Ireland Functional Brain Mapping (NIFBM) Facility
With £5.2M joint funding from Invest Northern Ireland (INI) and the University, the functional brain mapping (FBM) facility has been established at ISRC. It is equipped with the latest whole head 306 channels Elekta Neuromag MEG TRIUX system. It is the only MEG lab on the island of Ireland. It is part of a synergistic collaboration among ISRC, Biomedical Sciences Research Institute (Stratified Medicine), and Clinical Translational Research and Innovation Centre (C-TRIC). MEG is a modern non-invasive neurophysiological technique for measuring magnetic fields generated by neuronal activities inside the brain. Since the signal from the brain is too weak compared to the ambient magnetic noise in an urban environment, MEG needs a special shielding from external magnetic signal. For this purpose, our MEG system is housed in a magnetic shielded room (MSR) for reducing noise from the surrounding environment. For further information and booking scanning sessions, please go to NIFBM facility site