Robotic technology can reproduce missing human limbs to regain complete dexterity. In principle, it could become so advanced as to surpass our biological potential. However to fully exploit these systems and create a sense of natural control of these mechatronic limbs we need to overcome difficulties in connecting them to the human nervous system.
To build a man-machine interface that mimics our natural control of movement requires us to probe the nervous system with electrodes, decode the neural code of movement, and translate the decrypted code into motions of the robotic system (encoding). As a result, natural control of robotic devices interfaced with humans requires, as a pre-requisite, a deep neurological understanding of how we move. The decoding can be established at different levels of the nervous system, with recordings from the brain, the spinal cord, peripheral nerves, or muscles. At these levels the neural code of movement has different complexity since it is progressively biologically decoded.
In his inaugural lecture Professor Dario Farina will present the challenges, current solutions, and future directions in the development of bionic limbs. He will discuss how these developments are paralleled by advances in our fundamental knowledge on how human movements are generated.
Dario Farina received Ph.D. degrees in automatic control and computer science and in electronics and communications engineering from the Ecole Centrale de Nantes, Nantes, France, (2001) and Politecnico di Torino (2002), respectively. After being a research scientist at the Laboratory for Neuromuscular System Engineering (LISiN) of Politecnico di Torino, he was an Associate Professor in Biomedical Engineering at Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark (2004-2008).
At the same University, in 2008 he became Full Professor in Motor Control and Biomedical Signal Processing and the Head of the Research Group on Neural Engineering and Neurophysiology of Movement. In 2010 he was appointed Full Professor and Founding Chair of the Department of Neurorehabilitation Engineering at the University Medical Center Göttingen, Georg-August University, Germany, within the Bernstein Focus Neurotechnology (BFNT) Göttingen. In this position, he is also the Chair for NeuroInformatics of the BFNT Göttingen since 2010. Prof. Farina has been the President of the International Society of Electrophysiology and Kinesiology (ISEK) in 2012-2014 and he is currently Past President of ISEK. Among other awards, he has been the recipient of the 2010 IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Early Career Achievement Award.
His research focuses on neurorehabilitation technology, neural control of movement, and biomedical signal processing and modelling. Within these areas, Prof. Farina has (co)-authored more than 350 papers in peer-reviewed Journals and over 400 among conference papers/abstracts, book chapters, and encyclopedia contributions. He has been the (co-)Editor of the IEEE/Wiley books Introduction to Neural Engineering for Motor Reh abilitation (2013) and Surface Electromyography: Physiology, Engineering and Applications (2015). He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology and an Associate Editor of The Journal of Physiology and of IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering.
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