High Precision Neural Decoding of Complex Movement Trajectories Using Recursive Bayesian Estimation with Dynamic Movement Primitives

Guy Hotson, Ryan J. Smith, Adam G. Rouse, Marc H. Schieber, Nitish V. Thakor, Brock A. Wester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) are a rapidly progressing technology with the potential to restore function to victims of severe paralysis via neural control of robotic systems. Great strides have been made in directly mapping a user's cortical activity to control of the individual degrees of freedom of robotic end-effectors. While BMIs have yet to achieve the level of reliability desired for widespread clinical use, environmental sensors (e.g., RGB-D cameras for object detection) and prior knowledge of common movement trajectories hold great potential for improving system performance. Here, we present a novel sensor fusion paradigm for BMIs that capitalizes on information able to be extracted from the environment to greatly improve the performance of control. This was accomplished by using dynamic movement primitives to model the 3-D endpoint trajectories of manipulating various objects. We then used a switching unscented Kalman filter to continuously arbitrate between the 3-D endpoint kinematics predicted by the dynamic movement primitives and control derived from neural signals. We experimentally validated our system by decoding 3-D endpoint trajectories executed by a nonhuman primate manipulating four different objects at various locations. Performance using our system showed a dramatic improvement over using neural signals alone, with median distance between actual and decoded trajectories decreasing from 31.1 to 9.9 cm, and mean correlation increasing from 0.80 to 0.98. Our results indicate that our sensor fusion framework can dramatically increase the fidelity of neural prosthetic trajectory decoding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7378310
Pages (from-to)676-683
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Robotics and Automation Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2016


  • Brain Machine Interface
  • Cognitive Human-Robot Interaction
  • Physically Assistive Devices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Control and Optimization
  • Artificial Intelligence


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