Samir Menon: “Combining haptics with fMRI to study motor coordination and control in the brain”
CiNet 1F Conference Room
Department of Computer Science
The development of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) as a non -invasive whole-brain neuroimaging method has created opportunities to directly image and understand the human brain. It has, however, been challenging to design and conduct motor neuroscience experiments with fMRI, which has limited fMRI's application to the study of human visuo- motor control and coordination.
In this talk, I will present a set of novel fMRI-compatible haptic interfaces, which help simulate the sense of touch in virtual environments while subjects are inside the MRI machine. Haptic fMRI interfaces thus allow the creation of rich visuo-motor neuroscience experiments and allow fine grained control over experiment designs. I will discuss the engineering challenges associated with introducing complex machines into an MRI environment, along with the insights that allowed us to construct and operate them. I will also discuss the application of Haptic fMRI to motor neuroscience experiments for studying motor coordination and control in the brain, and will demonstrate how theory-driven experiments offer the potential to understand the computations of motor cortex.