Each year the National Science Foundation runs a video contest for young IGERT-funded scientists to communicate to the public about their research, and viewers are encouraged to vote for their favorite videos by liking them on Facebook.
One of the entries in this year's contest comes from a group of Stanford graduate students who show how the brain plans movement and discuss their work on neural prostheses - biomedical devices for restoring movement to individuals with paralysis or lost limbs. The students, who are all part of the Stanford Center for Mind, Brain and Computation, conduct their work in the labs of electrical engineer Krishna Shenoy, PhD, whose research we've written about in the past, and Surya Ganguli, PhD, an assistant professor of applied physics.
The take-away message of the video, student Sergey Stavisky told me yesterday, is that "neural prosthetics are an exciting class of medical technology with the potential to improve the lives of individuals with paralysis," but that to develop better ones, "we still need to learn a lot about the basic science of how the brain controls movement."
The video, called "Neural Prosthetics: Understanding Reach Planning," is worth checking out, as are many of the other entries, whose topics range from "virtual blood vessels" to the use of stem cells to revitalize skeletal muscle. Voting is open until 7 PM Pacific time Thursday.
Previously: Researchers find neurons fire rhythmically to create movement and Stanford researchers uncover the neural process behind reaction time
Via Erica Seigneur from NeuroTalk
Video still courtesy of Sergey Stavisky