Continuous shared control for stabilizing reaching and grasping with brain-machine interfaces

Hyun K. Kim, S. James Biggs, David W. Schloerb, Jose M. Carmena, Mikhail A. Lebedev, Miguel A.L. Nicolelis, Mandayam A. Srinivasan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Citations (Scopus)


Research on brain-machine interfaces (BMI's) is directed toward enabling paralyzed individuals to manipulate their environment through slave robots. Even for able-bodied individuals, using a robot to reach and grasp objects in unstructured environments can be a difficult telemanipulation task. Controlling the slave directly with neural signals instead of a hand-master adds further challenges, such as uncertainty about the intended trajectory coupled with a low update rate for the command signal. To address these challenges, a continuous shared control (CSC) paradigm is introduced for BMI where robot sensors produce reflex-like reactions to augment brain-controlled trajectories. To test the merits of this approach, CSC was implemented on a 3-degree-of-freedom robot with a gripper bearing three co-located range sensors. The robot was commanded to follow eighty-three reach-and-grasp trajectories estimated previously from the outputs of a population of neurons recorded from the brain of a monkey. Five different levels of sensor-based reflexes were tested. Weighting brain commands 70% and sensor commands 30% produced the best task performance, better than brain signals alone by more than seven-fold. Such a marked performance improvement in this test case suggests that some level of machine autonomy will be an important component of successful BMI systems in general.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1634510
Pages (from-to)1164-1173
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain-machine interface
  • Neuroprosthesis
  • Shared control
  • Telerobotics


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