Human-centred engineering in neuroprostheses

Tuesday 24/01/2012 12:30 - 13:30
Location: Brunel University, Howell Building, Room H313
Speaker: Dr Xiao Liu, Lecturer in Industrial Design & Technology, School of Engineering & Design, Brunel University, London, UK.

Diseases or injuries that affect the nervous system can result in some of the most devastating medical conditions. Thanks to the recent breakthrough in engineering and neuroscience, it is now possible to use a neuroprosthetic device to treat neurological disorders or restore lost biological functions, such as cochlear implants to restore hearing, retinal implants to restore vision, deep brain stimulators to treat Parkinson or epilepsy, functional electrical stimulator to restore leg movements and bladder control. A neuroprosthetic device works by passing pulses of electrical current into the muscle of interests or into nerve fibres, causing desirable muscle or neural tissue to respond. Due to distinct reasons and outcomes of different medical conditions, it is impossible to design a generic device which fits all possible applications. Additionally, patients (i.e., users) may also have different expectation of the medical device from design engineers. Thus, it is crucial that a human-centred approach is adopted in the development of a prosthetic device in order to suit each individual patient’s need and maximize the benefits the device can bring to individuals. Medical devices also need to meet strict regulatory and compliance guidelines.

Dr Xiao Liu is a lecturer in the School of Engineering and Design at Brunel University, U.K. His main research interests include analog and mixed-signal circuit design for biomedical applications, neuroprostheses, sensor design, and wearable technologies. Dr Liu is a member of IEEE and BioCAS technical committee.