A Multi-Disciplinary Discussion of Brain-Machine Interfaces

April 8, 2011
Time: 10:30am-12:00pm
Interschool Lab, CEPSR 750
Speaker: Todd Coleman


In this talk, we will discuss the topic of brain-machine interfaces, which comprise a coupling between the brain and an external device. First, we discuss a systems-engineering viewpoint on designing the protocol of interaction between the human and the external device from the lens of team decision theory and feedback information theory. We demonstrate how this application led to interesting new theoretical problems and solutions, that can be instantiated in a BMI for a text communication prosthesis as well as traversal of smooth paths in two dimensions. Next, we discuss some recent research in understanding how information is represented and processed in the ensemble neurophysiological recordings in motor areas of a monkey through the causal interaction between neural signals. Lastly, we discuss new neuro-technology developments that use stretchable electronics to sense neural signals non-invasively without the use of conductive gel.

Speaker Biography

Todd P. Coleman received the B.S. degrees in electrical engineering (summa cum laude), as well as computer engineering (summa cum laude) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 2000, along with the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, in 2002, and 2005. During the 2005- 2006 academic year, he was a postdoctoral scholar at MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital in computational neuroscience. Since the fall of 2006, he has been on the faculty in the ECE Department and Neuroscience Program at UIUC. His research interests include information theory, operations research, and computational neuroscience. Dr. Coleman, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship recipient, was awarded the University of Michigan College of Engineering’s Hugh Rumler Senior Class Prize in 1999 and was awarded the MIT EECS Department’s Morris J. Levin Award for Best Masterworks Oral Thesis Presentation in 2002. In Fall 2008, he was a co-recipient of the University of Illinois College of Engineering’s Grainger Award in Emerging Technologies for development of a novel, practical timing-based technology. Beginning Fall 2009, Coleman has served as a co-Principal Investigator on a 5-year NSF IGERT interdisciplinary training grant for graduate students, titled "Neuro-engineering: A Unified Educational Program for Systems Engineering and Neuroscience" in conjunction with Tennessee State, and UT San Antonio. Coleman also has been serving on the DARPA ISAT study group for a 3-year term, beginning Fall 2009. Beginning June 2010, he will serve as Diversity Coordinator for a new 5-year NSF Science and Technology Center pertaining to "Emerging Frontiers of the Science of Information", in conjunction with Purdue, Princeton, Stanford, MIT, Berkeley, Bryn Mawr, and Howard. Recently, he has been selected for a Fellow appointment with the University of Illinois Center for Advanced Study (CAS) for the 2010-2011 academic year.

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