Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development

Strategic Research Program for Brain Sciences

Development of BMI Technologies for Clinical Application

Research representative: Toshiki Yoshimine,
Research members: Masayuki Hirata, Takufumi Yanagisawa,
Research members: Nishimura Yukio (nins), Takafumi Suzuki (NICT), Hiroshi Yokoi (the University of Electro-Communications)

 Our project focuses on the development of brain machine interfaces (BMIs) which helps patients with severe motor and communication disability. With this technique, the brain signals obtained with intracranial electrodes are decoded in real-time in order to operate a robotic arm or a cursor of PC display. We will develop high density multichannel intracranial electrodes and novel techniques of big data decoding, intelligent robotic control and decoded neuroelectric stimulation (DecNES) for sensory feedback.
The goal of this project is to develop practical, fully-implantable wireless BMI system to support motor and communication activity of people with severe neurologic disability such as with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT)

Research and development of technologies for high speed wireless communication from inside to outside of the body and large scale data analyses of brain information and their application for BMI

Development and application of an implantable device for brain-machine interfaces using high-speed wireless data transfer and big data analyses of neural information

Research representative: Masayuki Hirata, Researcher in charge: Seiji Kameda,
Research members: Katsuyoshi Suzuki (NIHON KOHDEN), Takatsugu Kamata (SPChange)

 We proceed technological development of large scale wireless communication with small size and low power for implantable devices. We develop the first generation fully implantable wireless BMI system recording 128 ch electrocorticograms(ECoGs), and perform clinical research. We aim at the world’s first clinical application of the BMI system within 5 years.
 Parallel to it, assume the practical use within ten years, We also develop the second generation fully implantable wireless BMI system with 4000 ch ECoG recording and perform preclinical evaluation of the safety and efficacy to put the system into clinical application within ten years.

 This contributes to clinical application of technologically-advanced ECoG-based BMIs.

Measurement of the body buried embedded integrated circuits built-in flexible ultra thin film sensor sheet using marmosets brain signal measurement system

Research representative: Tsuyoshi Sekitani (ISIR),
Research members: Masayuki Hirata, Fumiaki Yoshida, Mihara Masashi,
Research collaborators: Takafumi Suzuki (NICT), Naotaka Fujii (RIKEN),
Research collaborators: Hideki Mochizuki (Osaka Univ. Med Neurology)

 We will develop implantable multichannel neural recording system utilizing the state of the art technologies of “ultra-flexible, and –thin transistor integrated circuits and sensors” and “rubber-like stretchable elastic conductors and integrated circuits”. Furthermore, with integrating ultra-flexible, and –thin light-emitting diodes and photo-detectors, we will implement optogenetic function. Our research target is to measure wide range neural signals from small primates and contribute to revealing the functional networks of the brain.

Android controls using fMRI and MEG

Program Manager: Yoshinori Yamakawa (JST),
Chief Technology Officer: Hiroshi Ishiguro (Osaka Univ. School / Graduate School of Engineering Science) 
Research & Development Director: Masayuki Hirata, Specially Appointed Researcher: Belkacem Abdelkader Nasreddine

 The aim of this project is to control an android robot as intended by decoding neuromagnetic signals recorded by MEG. MEG has the advantage of high spatio-temporal resolution; high temporal resolution compared to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and high spatial resolution compared to near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and electroencephalography (EEG). We develop the methods to decode the neuromagnetic signals and to control android robots. We aim to control android robots as intended by whole brain decoding including cognitive brain function in addition to sensory restoration by somatosensory and visual feedback.

Brain machine interfaces to restore swallowing function

Research representative: Masayuki Hirata,
Research collaborators: Kazutaka Takahashi (University of Chicago)

 Swallowing disturbance is one of the major factors as well as motor disturbance to deteriorate the activities of daily living in severely disabled people. Based on our previous findings of intracranial brain machine interfaces, we aim to reveal neural correlates of swallowing function, to develop a neural decoding method of swallowing, and to establish technological basis of BMIs for swallowing control. BMIs for swallowing control have never been investigated do far. This is a pioneering study which contributes to establishing the technological basis of a landmark therapy for swallowing disturbance.