Haptic fMRI: Visually Guided Movement & Force Experiments for Understanding Human Neuromuscular Control

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Recent advances in combining haptic interfaces with functional magnetic resonance imaging (Haptic fMRI) have enabled motor neuroscientists to design complex experiments that investigate how the human brain coordinates the musculoskeletal system. The human body's numerous and redundant degrees-of-freedom necessitate complex experiments to probe their dynamic range. In this thesis, we present a modular experiment design whose components can be combined to create arbitrarily complex Haptic fMRI experiments that include three-dimensional motor planning, unconstrained reaching, position holding, and visually guided trajectory tracking. Our experiment design achieves consistent response latencies, minimal hand jitter, and stereotypical goal-directed reaches and visually-guided motion trajectories across subjects. Moreover, the intuitive nature of our experiments helped subjects minimize head motion to less than half the spatial resolution of our fMRI scans, and decorrelated hand and head motions. We also establish criteria for including force-based haptic interaction in motor neuroimaging experiments by characterizing how well humans perceive forces. Finally, we determined that Haptic fMRI experiments conducted with the Stanford Haptic fMRI Interface (HFI) avoid task-correlated artifacts---simultaneously imaging a subject's brain with a brain-like phantom revealed no task-correlated noise. The phantom served as an ideal control because it was devoid of physiological activity but could still be affected by experimental artifacts. The experimental framework presented in this thesis sets the stage for future artifact-free motor fMRI experiments with Haptic fMRI that can help us understand how neuromuscular control works in the brain.


Type of resource text
Date created May 19, 2014


Author Yu, Michelle
Advisor Menon, Samir
Advisor Boahen, Kwabena
Primary advisor Khatib, Oussama
Degree granting institution Stanford University. Department of Bioengineering.


Subject Program in Biomedical Computation
Subject Stanford Robotics
Subject fMRI
Subject motor neuroscience
Subject haptic fMRI
Subject HFI
Subject functional magnetic resonance imaging
Genre Thesis

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Yu, Michelle (2013). Haptic fMRI: Visually Guided Movement & Force Experiments for Understanding Human Neuromuscular Control. Stanford Digital Repository. Available at: http://purl.stanford.edu/kz271hn7700


Undergraduate Theses, School of Engineering

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