General


The first NeuTouch International Summer School is a 4-day virtual summer school focused on touch for prosthetics. The event will include talks from some of the top tiers international expertise of the field, presentations from the PhD students of the NeuTouch ITN, as well as discussions, Q&A moments and activities to enhance soft skills essential for young researchers.

 

The event will be held entirely online through ZOOM platform, the link to access will be sent to subscribers before the start of each event. 

Certificate of attendance will be provided at the end of the summer school. 


To obtain the certificate:

  • Subscribe before Friday 18th
  • Attend at least 70% of the lectures and soft-skills sessions
  • Use their full name when connecting to the zoom rooms to be able to check their attendance

Program


The event is divided in 4 days between 14.00 and 18.00 (CEST).

Each day two speakers present a lecture of 1 hour each. The remaining time is divided in the presentations of our researchers' work and a soft skill class.

Day 1 - Monday 21st September

TimeSpeakerTitleDetails
14.00 - 15.00
J. Wessberg

Microneurography and microstimulation of single tactile afferents in the human hand.

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15.00-16.00
S. Bensmaia

Biological and bionic hands: Natural neural coding and artificial perception

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16.00-17.00
ESRs

4 Presentation from the ESRs

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17.00-18.00
Michela Lupi

Soft Skills 101

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Day 2- Monday 28th September

TimeSpeakerTitleDetails
14.00 - 15.00
V. Hayward
Tactile Mechanics Could Impact the Design of Prosthetics
 
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15.00-16.00
A. Frisoli
Wearable haptics and role of touch in telepresence
 
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16.00-17.00
ESRs

4 Presentation from the ESRs

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17.00-18.00
Michela Lupi

Soft Skills 101

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Day 3- Monday 5th October

TimeSpeakerTitleDetails
14.00 - 15.00
L.E. Miller
Designing motor BCIs for the real world
 
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15.00-16.00
R. Gaunt
Artificial touch in brain-computer interfaces
 
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16.00-17.00
ESRs

4 Presentation from the ESRs

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17.00-18.00
Michela Lupi

Soft Skills 101

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Day 4 - Monday 12th October

TimeSpeakerTitleDetails
14.00 - 15.00
F. Petrini
Commercialization of Nerve-Computer interfaces
 
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15.00-16.00
C. Castellini

Human-machine (interaction,interfaces): it isn’t about machine learning

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16.00-17.00
ESRs

4 Presentation from the ESRs

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17.00-18.00
Michela Lupi

Soft Skills 101

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Program

Talks


21st September 14.00-15.00

Microneurography and microstimulation of single tactile afferents in the human hand.

 

Microneurography is a method, invented by Ake Vallbo and Karl-Erik Hagbarth in the late 1960, with which we can record the activity from single, identified nerve fibres in awake human participants. In this talk, I will then discuss the method, its advantages and limitations, and some of the key discoveries regarding coding of tactile events in the signalling from receptors in the human skin. An extension of the method is to stimulate single afferents, and record the resulting tactile sensations reported by the participants, so-called microstimulation. The first experiments were done in the 1980s, but the method has recently seen a revival, and is currently being combined with high-resolution brain imaging in the study of the relationship between tactile nerve signals, sensations, and processing of tactile information in the brain. 

Johan Wessberg

Professor, University of Gothenburg - Insti. of Neuroscience and Physiology.

Prof. Johan Wessberg, MD PhD, obtained the medical diploma in 1987. His thesis in 1995 concerned human hand motor control and proprioception. He did a postdoc in the group of Prof. Miguel Nicolelis, Duke University, USA, pioneering work on brain-machine interfaces in monkeys. His current lab combines the technique of human microneurography, where the activity of single, identified nerve fibres is recorded in the peripheral nerves, with brain imaging using EEG, MEG and fMRI. He also maintains a strong interest in applying Machine Learning and other methods for the analysis of brain and peripheral nerve signals.


21st September 15.00-16.00

Biological and bionic hands: Natural neural coding and artificial perception

Neuroscience of touch and its relevance to prosthetics.

Sliman Bensmaia

Professor, University of Chicago

Sliman Bensmaia is The James and Karen Frank Family Professor in the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy and in the Committee on Computational Neuroscience. The main objective of his research is to discover how tactile and proprioceptive information is encoded in the activity of neurons along the somatosensory neuraxis of primates. To this end, his team records neuronal responses, measures the elicited percepts, and develops mathematical models to link neuronal representations to behavior. Bensmaia's team is also working towards restoring the sense of touch in bionic hands for amputees, through electrical interfaces with the nerves, or for people with tetraplegia, through electrical interfaces with the central nervous system. A widely published author, Bensmaia has spoken at dozens of invited talks and symposia and holds five patents. He is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, the American Physiological Society, and the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers.


28th September 14.00-15.00

Tactile Mechanics Could Impact the Design of Prosthetics
 
An astonishing variety of phenomena are taking place during contact between fingers and objects during behaviour. How could this trove of information be leveraged to help the users of prothestic devices behave perceptually and motorically as effectively as intact people can? After all, most persons who have lost a limb to trauma have the greatest part of their somato-sensory system intact. I will discuss this idea through examples that show that relevant information about tactile interactions might be effectively transmitted via relatively simple methods.
 

Vincent Hayward

Professor, Sorbonne Université & Actronika SAS

Vincent Hayward is a Professor at Sorbonne Université in Paris and currently spends part of his time contributing to the development of a start-up company in Paris, Actronika SAS, dedicated to lowering the accessibility barrier of haptic technology. Before, he was with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at McGill University, Montréal, Canada, where he became a full Professor in 2006 and was Director of the McGill Centre for Intelligent Machines from 2001 to 2004. In 2008, he became an elected a Fellow of the IEEE and in 2019 a member of the French Academy of Sciences. During 2017 and 2018, Vincent Hayward was Professor of Tactile Perception and Technology at the School of Advanced Study of the University of London, supported by a Leverhulme Trust Fellowship, following a six-year period as an advanced ERC grantee at Sorbonne Université.

WIKIPEDIA    ACTRONIKA


28th September 15.00-16.00

Wearable haptics and role of touch in telepresence
 
In this talk I will deal with the introduction to the wearable haptics concept, a novel paradigm to provide haptic feedback thanks to substitution of kinesthetic feedback with cutaneous feedback, introducing challenges and advantages that can be achieved in terms of haptic perception and ergonomics of interaction. I will overview also the application of wearable haptic devices in the context of children neuro-rehabilitation and implication for sensory substitution in prostheses. Second, I will discuss about the role of haptic in telepresence, underpinning the technical issues related to the accomplishment of complex bimanual tasks in bilateral telemanipulation, pointing out the role of haptic perception in task execution and the technical challenges to be overcome due to time delay and to the quality of haptic feedback.
 

Antonio Frisoli

Full Professor, Head of Human-Robot Interaction Area, Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna (Pisa)
Prof. Antonio Frisoli (male) is Full Professor of Engineering Mechanics and Robotics where he leads the Human- Robot Interaction research area at the PERCRO laboratory of SSSA, a group of composed of about 20 researchers and PhD students. He has a recognized world-leading expert in the area of wearable robotics and haptic interfaces. He received the MSc in Mechanical Engineering minor Robotics cum laude from University of Pisa in 1998 and the PhD in Engineering from Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna in 2002. He has been involved in several EU-funded and national research projects. He has been the scientific responsible for SSSA of the “Presenccia” FET EU project, the “Decisions-in-Motion” Strep project (FP6) in the area of Cognitive Systems, the “WearHap” integrated project (FP7) in the area of Cognitive Systems and Robotics, and of the “CENTAURO” Research and Innovation Action (H2020) in the area of Robotics. His research interests are in the field of haptics and wearable robotics, with a focus on the development and new design of exoskeletons, modeling and control of haptic systems, robot-assisted neurorehabilitation and virtual environments. Prof. Frisoli is IEEE senior member, has been the former chair of the IEEE Technical Committee on Haptics and general chair of Eurohaptics 2018. He is the author of more than 200 publications in the area of robotics and virtual reality, and among the co-founders of the Wearable Robotics company.

5th October 14.00-15.00

Designing motor Brain-Computer Interfaces for the real world
 

Spinal cord injury is devastating, currently having no cure. Ultimately, we’d want to regrow the damaged axons, but in the meantime, it is now possible to literally reconnect the brain and muscles electronically. My group has pioneered the development of a novel brain-computer interface (BCI) that decodes muscle activity (EMG) from signals recorded from the primary motor cortex (M1) of monkeys. We use these predicted EMG signals to control electrical stimulation of paralyzed muscles, a clinical procedure called Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES). FES causes the muscles to contract and thereby cause movement of the paralyzed limb. Following initial proof of concept several years ago, of this FES-BCI to restore voluntary movement, we’ve begun to develop new methods that allow us to record data and monitor behavior even in the monkey’s home cage. We are examining the representation within the cortex of these in-cage behaviors and the corresponding relation between cortical activity, EMG, and movement. In the past few years, there has been much interest in the fact that information from roughly 100 of the millions of M1 neurons active during movement can be reduced to a small number of “latent” signals. We have demonstrated decoders, based on the latent signals, which remain stable even for multiple years. We are also developing deep neural networks that generalize much better than linear decoders. Ultimately, we intend to develop an FES-BCI that will restore voluntary movement across a broad range of natural motor tasks without the need for intermittent recalibration.

Lee Eugene Miller

Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience, Departments of Physiology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University


Lee E. Miller is a Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience in the Departments of Physiology, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University. He was inducted into the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering in 2016 and is the current president of the Society for the Neural Control of Movement. Dr. Miller has had a career-long interest in the signals generated by neurons during arm movement. In the past 10 years, his lab has increasingly focused on translational research, including the use of brain-machine interfaces to restore movement and sensation to spinal cord injured patients.

WEBSITE


5th October 15.00 - 16.00

Artificial touch in brain-computer interfaces
 

Over the past decade, several groups have implanted microelectrode arrays into the sensorimotor cortex of paralyzed individuals. At the University of Pittsburgh, we have worked with two volunteers and have shown that recording and decoding the activity of a few hundred neurons in motor cortex enables a person to control a prosthetic arm with up to 10 degrees-of-freedom continuously and simultaneously. However, we know that the somatosensory system is essential to regulate ongoing movement and enable controlled interactions with the environment. Five years ago, we implanted electrodes into area 1, a tactile region of somatosensory cortex, to try and restore artificial touch and create a bidirectional brain-computer interface. In this talk I will describe how cutaneous sensations can be restored through microstimulation of the somatosensory cortex. I will focus on what they feel like, how stable they can be, how these experiments can uncover basic organizational principles of the somatosensory cortex and how these tactile percepts can substantially improve task performance. Our ultimate goal is to understand the structure and function of the sensorimotor cortex and use biomimetic design principles to restore dexterous hand and arm movements, complete with the appropriate sensory experiences, to people who have lost their limbs or are unable to use them because of injury or disease.

Robert A. Gaunt

Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh

Robert A. Gaunt is an Assistant Professor in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Pittsburgh. Robert earned a B.Eng. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Victoria (Victoria BC, Canada) and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Alberta (Edmonton AB, Canada). His primary research interests are in sensorimotor control of the hand and bladder. Specifically, this encompasses understanding the role that somatosensory feedback on control and how biomimetic design principles can be used to develop neuroprosthetic technologies aimed at restoring sensory, motor, and autonomic functions for people with disease or injuries including spinal cord injury and limb loss. The hand and bladder are scientifically linked by the powerful role that somatosensation has on reflex function and consciously mediated behaviors, while the functional importance of these two systems are frequently highlighted by people living with spinal cord injury. Active research topics include developing novel neural interfaces to regulate bladder function and developing bidirectional implantable brain computer interfaces to restore movement and sensation to people with upper-limb paralysis. He holds a number of patents and his work has been covered by numerous national and international media outlets.

WEBSITE

 


12th October 14.00 - 15.00

Commercialization of Nerve-Computer interfaces
 
 
Nerve computer interfaces have received great attention in the last few years, because of exciting results that have been obtained in academia. How is the path to get them to commercialization? Is it something that will happen in the next future or we are far from it? Francesco will give some highlights on the matter.
 

Francesco M. Petrini,

CEO, SensArs Neuroprosthetics

Francesco has worked at the business development during the first steps of SensArs: IPs preparation and filing, funds raising, business plan preparation. During his entrepreneurial activity he was awarded with several prizes and grants: Brain Forum start-up award (2015), Best 3 IROS start-up award (2015), Innogrant (2014), IMD award (2015), Spin-fund (2015), Venture Kick (2016), top 25 Venture (2016), Top 100 Swiss startup (2017), EU FET Launchpad (2017), EIT Health Headstart (2018), EU FTI (2019). He holds a PhD in neural engineering (University Campus Bio-Medico, Rome) and specialisation in the technology transfer and business development. During his studies, he has visited for more than two years the most important schools of Europe, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland) and Imperial College of London, obtaining certificates for business and management competencies. He has been for 2 years the manager of the SCRIPT European project for San Raffaele Pisana (Rome) and he has worked within several relevant European projects (TIME, EPIONE, NEBIAS). He holds 2 patent applications.

LINKEDIN


12th October 15.00 - 16.00

Human-machine (interaction,interfaces): it isn’t about machine learning

After introducing and motivating the talk, I’ll define my personal ideal human-machine interface for the disabled, revolving around the concept of natural control and sensori-motor schemes, in the constructivist sense. Optimising the interaction between a user and a machine is not about machine learning, although we cannot do without it, nor it has to do with big data. Rather, it is a matter of collecting good data from the user and/or pushing the user to produce good data, monitoring and exploiting reciprocal adaptation and building appropriate interaction strategies. I will then sketch the current achievements of natural control via adaptive biological HMIs, going into some detail about how to model the relationship between biological signals, the user’s intent to move and control signals for a robotic artefact (in teleoperation, prosthetics, virtual reality). Lastly, I’ll throw some open question and issues to the audience, hoping to stimulate an articulated discussion.

Claudio Castellini

Team Leader, Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics, DLR - German Aerospace Center

Claudio Castellini is a senior researcher and team leader in rehabilitation and assistive robotics, human-machine interfaces and interaction and applied machine learning. He obtained a degree in Electronic (Biomedical) Engineerings in 1998 from the University of Genoa and a Ph.D. in Artificial Intelligence (Mathematical Logic) in 2005 from the School of Informatics of the University of Edinburgh. He then turned his attention to robotics for the disabled, and after spending 4.5 years as a post-doctoral fellow at the Advanced Robotics Laboratory of the University of Genoa, he landed at the German Aerospace Center where he currently works. As of now,  he has (co)authored short of 120 scientific papers, he is involved in a few research projects and he has served, or is currently serving, for some international editorial boards and committees.

WEBSITE


All days 16.00-17.00

Early Stage Researchers Presentations

During the event our PhD students will present the work carried out so far.

Network's Researchers

Ph.D candidates

Neutouch employees 15 students from different institutions in Europe


All days 17.00-18.00

Soft Skills 101 

How we communicate our information it is as important as the content. Together we’ll reflect on how to produce high impact scientific presentation, from the storyboard to the speech. We’ll discover how brain works to understand the deep meaning of our communication strategies. We’ll also reflect on how to be present and the mechanism of human attention. Virtual workshop will be supported by video and group discussion.

Michela Lupi

International Coach Federation, Professional Certified Coach and Six Seconds Emotional Intelligence Practitioner

Michela Lupi is a professional certified coach. She has 15+ years of experience in Human Resources with main assignments as training leader and HR leader in both multinationals and non profit organizations. While developing her career in different organizations (private sectors and universities), she has been involved with several different training activities, teaching organizational development, teamwork, and interpersonal communication skills. She is currently a freelance ICF professional certified Coach (PCC) focused on: business, executive and team coaching and also EQ assessor and Vital Signs consultant (Six Seconds), aiming to apply emotional intelligence principles to work, school and local communities.

LINKEDIN

 


Talks

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This project is funded by the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 813713 (NeuTouch)
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