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News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: phys.org

Javier Bello Ruiz and Robin Mange, cofounders of Imverse, will present their immersive virtual-reality software at the World VR Forum in Crans-Montana. Credit: Alain Herzog Imverse, an EPFL spinoff, has developed a software that lets users convert 360-degree images from 2-D into 3-D and both manipulate and create virtual-reality content in real time with the help of virtual-reality glasses. The system will be unveiled at the World VR Forum in Crans-Montana, Switzerland, from 11 to 14 May. It's now easier than ever to create a 3-D environment and then add and manipulate virtual-reality content in real time, thanks to the software created by EPFL startup Imverse. What's required? A 360-degree 2-D photo taken with any commercial camera, and a pair of off-the-shelf virtual-reality glasses. The software is similar to photo editing software allowing the users to freely explore and modify the environment created from the picture in real time. Imverse's software delivers professional results and has a wide range of potential uses. Javier Bello Ruiz, the CEO of Imverse, which got its start at Campus Biotech Innovation Park, is initially targeting virtual-reality studios that work with real-estate agencies, advertisers and the media. "Take a real-estate agent who wants to sell a house that's in need of a little work. The seller could show a prospective buyer the end result by modeling the house in 3-D using a 360-degree photo and then modifying the interior in real time – even collaboratively together inside the virtual environment – suggesting various options that the buyer could tweak freely using the virtual-reality glasses." The program is so simple that even non-experts can use it, and licenses will be available early next year. "Just like with photo editing software, all you need is a little training to begin developing interactive content," said Javier. This will save users significant time and money. The underlying technology was developed in part at the lab run by Olaf Blanke, the director of the Center for Neuroprosthetics located at Campus Biotech. The software will soon be tested by potential customers and will be presented this week at the World VR Forum in Crans-Montana. "Switzerland is known for its cutting-edge technology, and the Lake Geneva region has an excellent virtual-reality ecosystem. So we're hopeful that we'll meet potential customers and partners and stir up interest among investors," Javier added. The project engineers are already at work on the next step: full immersion of a user's body so that the user can interact with the virtual environment in real time. Javier hopes that his company's application will quickly become the software of choice for developing mixed-reality content.


Borton D.,Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne | Bonizzato M.,Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne | Beauparlant J.,Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne | DiGiovanna J.,Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne | And 10 more authors.
Neuroscience Research | Year: 2014

In this conceptual review, we highlight our strategy for, and progress in the development of corticospinal neuroprostheses for restoring locomotor functions and promoting neural repair after thoracic spinal cord injury in experimental animal models. We specifically focus on recent developments in recording and stimulating neural interfaces, decoding algorithms, extraction of real-time feedback information, and closed-loop control systems. Each of these complex neurotechnologies plays a significant role for the design of corticospinal neuroprostheses. Even more challenging is the coordinated integration of such multifaceted technologies into effective and practical neuroprosthetic systems to improve movement execution, and augment neural plasticity after injury. In this review we address our progress in rodent animal models to explore the viability of a technology-intensive strategy for recovery and repair of the damaged nervous system. The technical, practical, and regulatory hurdles that lie ahead along the path toward clinical applications are enormous - and their resolution is uncertain at this stage. However, it is imperative that the discoveries and technological developments being made across the field of neuroprosthetics do not stay in the lab, but instead reach clinical fruition at the fastest pace possible. © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd and the Japan Neuroscience Society.


Adler D.,University of Geneva | Herbelin B.,Center for Neuroprosthetics | Similowski T.,Paris-Sorbonne University | Similowski T.,French Institute of Health and Medical Research | And 3 more authors.
Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology | Year: 2014

Bodily self-consciousness depends on the processing of interoceptive and exteroceptive signals. It can be disrupted by inducing signal conflicts. Breathing, at the crossroad between interoception and exteroception, should contribute to bodily self-consciousness. We induced visuo-respiratory conflicts in 17 subjects presented with a virtual body or a parallelepidedal object flashing synchronously or asynchronously with their breathing. A questionnaire detected illusory changes in bodily self-consciousness and breathing agency (the feeling of sensing one's breathing command). Changes in self-location were tested by measuring reaction time during mental ball drop (MBD). Synchronous illumination changed the perceived location of breathing (body: p = 0.008 vs. asynchronous; object: p = 0.013). It resulted in a significant change in breathing agency, but no changes in self-identification. This was corroborated by prolonged MBD reaction time (body: +0.045. s, 95%CI [0.013; 0.08], p = 0.007). We conclude that breathing modulates bodily self-consciousness. We also conclude that one can induce the irruption of unattended breathing into consciousness without modifying respiratory mechanics or gas exchange. © 2014 Elsevier B.V.


PubMed | French Institute of Health and Medical Research, Center for Neuroprosthetics and University of Geneva
Type: | Journal: Respiratory physiology & neurobiology | Year: 2014

Bodily self-consciousness depends on the processing of interoceptive and exteroceptive signals. It can be disrupted by inducing signal conflicts. Breathing, at the crossroad between interoception and exteroception, should contribute to bodily self-consciousness. We induced visuo-respiratory conflicts in 17 subjects presented with a virtual body or a parallelepidedal object flashing synchronously or asynchronously with their breathing. A questionnaire detected illusory changes in bodily self-consciousness and breathing agency (the feeling of sensing ones breathing command). Changes in self-location were tested by measuring reaction time during mental ball drop (MBD). Synchronous illumination changed the perceived location of breathing (body: p=0.008 vs. asynchronous; object: p=0.013). It resulted in a significant change in breathing agency, but no changes in self-identification. This was corroborated by prolonged MBD reaction time (body: +0.045s, 95%CI [0.013; 0.08], p=0.007). We conclude that breathing modulates bodily self-consciousness. We also conclude that one can induce the irruption of unattended breathing into consciousness without modifying respiratory mechanics or gas exchange.


PubMed | Center for Neuroprosthetics, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne and ETH Zurich
Type: | Journal: Neuroscience research | Year: 2014

In this conceptual review, we highlight our strategy for, and progress in the development of corticospinal neuroprostheses for restoring locomotor functions and promoting neural repair after thoracic spinal cord injury in experimental animal models. We specifically focus on recent developments in recording and stimulating neural interfaces, decoding algorithms, extraction of real-time feedback information, and closed-loop control systems. Each of these complex neurotechnologies plays a significant role for the design of corticospinal neuroprostheses. Even more challenging is the coordinated integration of such multifaceted technologies into effective and practical neuroprosthetic systems to improve movement execution, and augment neural plasticity after injury. In this review we address our progress in rodent animal models to explore the viability of a technology-intensive strategy for recovery and repair of the damaged nervous system. The technical, practical, and regulatory hurdles that lie ahead along the path toward clinical applications are enormous - and their resolution is uncertain at this stage. However, it is imperative that the discoveries and technological developments being made across the field of neuroprosthetics do not stay in the lab, but instead reach clinical fruition at the fastest pace possible.


Perdikis S.,Center for Neuroprosthetics | Leeb R.,Center for Neuroprosthetics | Williamson J.,University of Glasgow | Ramsay A.,University of Glasgow | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Neural Engineering | Year: 2014

Objective. While brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) for communication have reached considerable technical maturity, there is still a great need for state-of-the-art evaluation by the end-users outside laboratory environments. To achieve this primary objective, it is necessary to augment a BCI with a series of components that allow end-users to type text effectively. Approach. This work presents the clinical evaluation of a motor imagery (MI) BCI text-speller, called BrainTree, by six severely disabled end-users and ten able-bodied users. Additionally, we define a generic model of code-based BCI applications, which serves as an analytical tool for evaluation and design. Main results. We show that all users achieved remarkable usability and efficiency outcomes in spelling. Furthermore, our model-based analysis highlights the added value of human-computer interaction techniques and hybrid BCI error-handling mechanisms, and reveals the effects of BCI performances on usability and efficiency in code-based applications. Significance. This study demonstrates the usability potential of code-based MI spellers, with BrainTree being the first to be evaluated by a substantial number of end-users, establishing them as a viable, competitive alternative to other popular BCI spellers. Another major outcome of our model-based analysis is the derivation of a 80% minimum command accuracy requirement for successful code-based application control, revising upwards previous estimates attempted in the literature. © 2014 IOP Publishing Ltd.


Romeo A.,Center for Neuroprosthetics | Hofmeister Y.,Center for Neuroprosthetics | Lacour S.P.,Center for Neuroprosthetics
Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering | Year: 2014

Soft, bioelectronics interfaces are broadly defined as microfabricated devices with mechanical properties suited to comply with biological tissues. There are many challenges associated with the development of such technology platforms. Simultaneously one must achieve reliable electronic performance, thermal and environmental stability, mechanical compliance, and biocompatibility. Materials and system architecture must be designed such that mechanical integrity and electrical functionality is preserved during fabrication, implementation and use of the interface. Depositing and patterning conventional device materials, ranging from inorganic to organic thin films as well as nanomaterials, directly onto soft elastomeric substrates enable electronic devices with enhanced mechanical flexibility. Success in fabrication also relies on a careful design of the mechanical architecture of the soft interface to minimize mechanical stresses in the most fragile materials. © 2014 SPIE.


Chavarriaga R.,Center for Neuroprosthetics | Bayati H.,Center for Neuroprosthetics | Millan J.D.R.,Center for Neuroprosthetics
Personal and Ubiquitous Computing | Year: 2013

A common assumption in activity recognition is that the system remains unchanged between its design and its posterior operation. However, many factors affect the data distribution between two different experimental sessions. One of these factors is the potential change in the sensor location (e.g. due to replacement or slippage) affecting the classification performance. Assuming that changes in the sensor placement mainly result in shifts in the feature distributions, we propose an unsupervised adaptive classifier that calibrates itself using an online version of expectation-maximisation. Tests using three activity recognition scenarios show that the proposed adaptive algorithm is robust against shift in the feature space due to sensor displacement and rotation. Moreover, since the method estimates the change in the feature distribution, it can also be used to roughly evaluate the reliability of the system during online operation. © 2011 Springer-Verlag London Limited.


Romeo A.,Center for Neuroprosthetics | Lacour S.P.,Center for Neuroprosthetics
Proceedings of the Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBS | Year: 2015

Electronic skins aim at providing distributed sensing and computation in a large-area and elastic membrane. Control and addressing of high-density soft sensors will be achieved when thin film transistor matrices are also integrated in the soft carrier substrate. Here, we report on the design, manufacturing and characterization of metal oxide thin film transistors on these stretchable substrates. The TFTs are integrated onto an engineered silicone substrate with embedded strain relief to protect the devices from catastrophic cracking. The TFT stack is composed of an amorphous In-Ga-Zn-O active layer, a hybrid AlxOy/Parylene dielectric film, gold electrodes and interconnects. All layers are prepared and patterned with planar, low temperature and dry processing. We demonstrate the interconnected IGZO TFTs sustain applied tensile strain up to 20% without electrical degradation and mechanical fracture. Active devices are critical for distributed sensing. The compatibility of IGZO TFTs with soft and biocompatible substrates is an encouraging step towards wearable electronic skins. © 2015 IEEE.


Tonin L.,Center for Neuroprosthetics | Leeb R.,Center for Neuroprosthetics | Tavella M.,Center for Neuroprosthetics | Perdikis S.,Center for Neuroprosthetics | Del Millan J.R.,Center for Neuroprosthetics
Conference Proceedings - IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics | Year: 2010

This paper discusses and evaluates the role of shared control approach in a BCI-based telepresence framework. Driving a mobile device by using human brain signals might improve the quality of life of people suffering from severely physical disabilities. By means of a bidirectional audio/video connection to a robot, the BCI user is able to interact actively with relatives and friends located in different rooms. However, the control of robots through an uncertain channel as a BCI may be complicated and exhaustive. Shared control can facilitate the operation of brain-controlled telepresence robots, as demonstrated by the experimental results reported here. In fact, it allows all subjects to complete a rather complex task, driving the robot in a natural environment along a path with several targets and obstacles, in shorter times and with less number of mental commands. ©2010 IEEE.

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