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Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg . 79085 Freiburg
University of Freiburg
Predicting Precision of Movement Tasks
Procedure uses brain signals to make prognosis on precision of
Public Relations
D -79085 Freiburg
Even simple, frequently carried-out movement tasks like opening a door or
grasping an object are sometimes realized better and sometimes worse,
sometimes faster, sometimes slower, sometimes more precisely, sometimes
Nicolas Scherger
less precisely. This variability in performance can be traced back in part to
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brain activity. An interdisciplinary junior research group at the Cluster of
Excellence BrainLinks-BrainTools at the University of Freiburg (led by
[email protected]
computer scientist Dr. Michael Tangermann) has developed a self-learning
algorithm that allows predictions concerning the precision of an action. The
procedure could be used for physical training methods and for improving
rehabilitation after strokes. The study was published in the journal Frontiers
in Human Neuroscience.
With the help of electroencephalography (EEG),
scientists already
discovered years ago that activity patterns in the brain precede movement.
The study from Freiburg is also based on data from EEG signals.
Researchers examined 20 healthy participants with an average age of 53
years. These participants had to trace a route on a computer screen by
repeatedly pressing a power sensor. Their brain activity was recorded before
and during the exercise. A self-learning algorithm defined important
characteristics within the complex brain signals, enabling the researchers to
predict how well a given participant would carry out the movement. Such
machine learning procedures are often used in the context of high-dimension
data, for example for improving search engines. The algorithm learns a
Freiburg, 09.05.2016
prescription on the basis of many examples, allowing it to decode unknown
data sets in the future.
As a next step, the researchers want to shed light on how such prediction
models can be used. For movement rehabilitation for stroke patients, it could
be helpful to delay a movement task until the required brain activity has been
reached. A training effect of this kind is what the team in Freiburg will work
on in a future study together with Freiburg’s University Medical Center.
Original publication:
Meinel, A./Castaño-Candamil, S./Reis, J./Tangermann, M. (2016): Pre-Trial
Neuroergonomics for a Hand Force Task. In: Frontiers in Neuroscience.
DOI: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00170
Dr. Michael Tangermann
Brain State Decoding Lab
Cluster of Excellence BrainLinks-BrainTools
University of Freiburg
Phone.: +49 (0)761/203-8423
E-Mail: [email protected]
Levin Sottru
Science Communicator
Cluster of Excellence BrainLinks-BrainTools
University of Freiburg
Phone: +49 (0)761/203-67721
E-Mail: [email protected]
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