MINES Saint-Étienne

Seminar: Neural interfacing for rehabilitation

Blaise Yvert, Clinatec-Lab Inserm U1205, Grenoble.

The seminar will take place on Tuesday 2 February 2016 at 11:00 am

HS002, Campus Georges Charpak – Provence


Neural prosthesis and brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) aim at restoring lost functions following lesions or degeneration of the central nervous system. These neurotechnology-based approaches rely on large-scale neural interfacing using arrays of sensors to record and/or elicit activity within large neural populations. Here, I will focus on two research axes that we conduct in this context, one aiming at improving microelectrode arrays for neural sensing and microstimulation, and one aiming at using cortical implants to build a speech BCI to restore communication in locked-in aphasic patients. The presentation will thus be composed of two parts. First, I will insist on the importance of the electrode material when considering dense arrays of small-size microelectrodes, and show how in such case the noise level and stimulation capabilities of a device can be improved using novel nanoporous metal or carbon-based (diamond) electrode materials. Second, I will present our ongoing project aiming at using cortical neural implnts to develop a BCI paradigm to restore continuous speech from real-time decoding of cortical activity. For this purpose, we have developed an articulatory speech synthesizer based on deep neural networks mapping the trajectories of the main articulators of the vocal tract (tongue, lips, jaw, velum) onto the acoustic content of speech. Different healthy subjects, in whom we recorded the movements of the main articulators and used these signals as inputs of the synthesizer, could successfully control this synthesizer in real-time. Such closed-loop paradigm will be transposed in a future clinical trial to allow patients implanted with electrode arrays to produce artificial speech from their cortical activity.

Speaker’s biography

Blaise Yvert is Inserm research director (DR2) at Clinatec-Lab Inserm U1205, where he is responsible of the team Neurotechnology and Network Dynamics. He received an Engineering degree from Ecole Centrale de Lyon and a Master of Engineering in Applied physics from Cornell University in 1993, and a DEA and Ph.D in biomedical engineering from INSA Lyon in 1994 and 1996, respectively. In his early carrier, BY started to work on human brain imaging using EEG, MEG and intracranial EEG and then became interested in exploring the dynamics of neural networks at a multicellular level using large-scale microelectrode arrays. In 2012, he became appointed Fulbright Visiting Scholar in the Braingate team at the Brown Institute for Brain Sciences (Prof. John Donoghue). His current interests are the development of novel neurotechnologies for large-scale brain interfacing and the use of these approaches for the functional rehabilitation of speech using brain-computer interfaces.


George Malliaras
Professor and Department Head
Department of Bioelectronics
Phone: +33 (0)4 42 61 66 44