Thursday, July 28, 2022

URSP Student Ayman Slamani Researches Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs)

The brain is arguably the most important organ in the human body but even in this day and age we know so little about it. My name is Ayman Slamani and I am a senior majoring in Bioengineering, with a concentration in pre-health. I have always been a curious person to the core, and I seek to learn the most that I can about topics that pique my interest. The topic that has interested me the most, since learning about Ben Carson’s revolutionary neurosurgery while watching the movie Gifted Hand, has been the brain. This is why my ultimate career goal is to become a neurosurgeon and why I chose to focus my research on brain-computer interfaces (BCIs).

Most of the current research studies regarding BCIs use electrocorticography (ECoG). This is due to the necessity of gathering high resolution electrical activity from the brain to allow for easier manipulation of data gathered and the specialization of that data. The issue with this method is that it is very invasive, requiring the implantation of a microelectrode array on the surface of the brain. This comes with many risks for the patient. 

Electroencephalography (EEG) is a non-invasive method of collecting electrical activity of the brain. Because it involves collecting electrical signals via electrodes on top of the scalp, the signal is attenuated. This research area is still in its infancy in terms of what has been accomplished. That’s I chose to use EEG signals for my research

I am currently working with my mentor, Dr. Siddartha Sikdar, to develop a brain computer interface that integrates the use of an EEG headset with a predictive algorithm built to manipulate the grasping actions a prosthetic hand. My research so far has been looking at precedent in this area of study as well as how to process EEG data through MATLAB and adjunct software. The EEG headset that I will be using for this study just came in and I am excited to start data collection and work on the algorithm side of this research. These will be the most important steps in producing a working BCI.