Neurotriage System

The Texas Biomedical Device Center, in conjunction with UT Southwestern Medical Center, UT Arlington and the University of Iowa, is developing a neurotriage system to measure the neurological status of individuals. The system integrates assessment tools developed from neuro-ophthalmology research into a goggle-type heads-up display, allowing neurological conditions to be quickly assessed based on physiological data gathered from the eye and eye movements. With this system, an athlete – such as a football player – could measure his neurological status before a game and compare it to the status after an event, such as a hard hit. A change in status might indicate impairment, such as slower reaction time or judgment. The goal of the system is to provide athletes with quantitative data to make an informed decision about their current neurological health. This may prevent poor performance on the field or prevent chronic brain injuries. At the same time, this data could be used in conjunction with acceleration data to determine which types of impacts result in neurological impairments, with the overall goal of improving the health and safety of players at the high school, college and professional levels.

NEWS: New Device Could Guard Against Football-Related Concussions

Second Derivative

The Texas Biomedical Device Center, in conjunction with Texas Instruments is developing the second derivative system. The system is designed to provide athletes with a system to monitor head impacts. The system is designed to ensure the data is only available to the athlete or with whomever they chose to share the data. This system is designed to be low cost so that parents can afford to monitor their children. The dt2 system can be used in conjunction with the Neurotriage system to determine if a head impact has resulted in a change in neurological status. The data can be used to determine which types of impacts result in neurological impairments, with the overall goal of improving the health and safety of all athletes.

Targeted Plasticity

Targeted Plasticity Overview from UT Dallas

The nervous system can change in response to new experiences or injury. This capacity for change is called neural or brain plasticity. Our continuous development of new skills and memories result from these changes.

UT Dallas researchers are at the forefront of investigations into plasticity and its role in the development of tinnitus and chronic pain, as well as stroke, traumatic brain injury, autism, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. UT Dallas researchers are working on a new method of directing plasticity by using vagus nerve stimulation of the brain. The new method could lead to highly effective therapeutic alternatives to invasive brain surgery for a wide range of disorders.

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Advanced Semiconductor Systems

This is an optical image of a cell culture on a flexible microelectrode array, along with recordings from the cell culture. The work was done in collaboration with Plexon and George Mason University as part of an NSF Partnership for Innovation grant.

Microelectrode arrays (MEAs) have provided tremendous insight into how the nervous system receives, processes and transmits information. With the ability to stimulate and record from cells within the nervous system using MEAs, neuroscientists have been able to probe neural circuitry and examine the underlying spatiotemporal dynamics in health and disease.

Together with industry partners, UT Dallas researchers are are working to develop and produce products based on a microelectrode array platform technology for neuroscience that produces increasingly complex commercial devices. Their vision is a multifunctional MEA platform technology that incorporates several characteristics, including:

  • multichannel optical stimulation using embedded organic light-emitting diodes for selective neurostimulation
  • shape-memory polymers to provide a more robust, long-lived interface with the nervous system
  • embedded microsystems based on thin-film transistors and piezoelectric polymers for on-board signal processing and micro-positioning of electrodes in vivo
  • low-cost, disposable fabrication materials and methods for in vitro neuropharmacological assay use

Gnade and his colleagues are developing this novel multifunctional MEA platform technology by leveraging advances in flexible display technology and materials science, demonstrating this technology platform in both in vitro and in vivo neuroscience studies.

Implantable Antennas

Fractal shape memory antenna for power and communicating with implantable sensors.

As technology allows medical implants to become smaller, more sophisticated and longer-lived in the human body, such devices will be able to carry out many more tasks aimed at improving health. To facilitate the further development of implantable devices such as neurostimulators, blood glucose monitors and blood oxygen sensors, to name a few, a new generation of more efficient and robust implantable antennas is needed to transmit and receive crucial data between these devices and the external world.

Designing antennas that facilitate broadband, wireless communication with advanced sensor devices implanted under the skin requires a new and bold approach. UT Dallas researchers are designing new antenna technology that couples with such devices, including devices based on shape-memory polymers. Their antennas not only transfer power and collect, transmit and store data, but they also can withstand and operate optimally in the caustic environment of the human body. In addition, their innovative technology is designed to redirect all the radio signals from the device outward from the body, significantly increasing efficiency and eliminating secondary effects of radiation on the body, such as heating.

Visible Speech

The larger blue dots represent where the patient’s tongue should be to make the sound of the letter “t.”

Researchers from several UT Dallas schools are collaborating on a project aimed at improving analysis of speech production by enabling visualization of the human tongue. The Visible Speech Project also includes a database of tongue motion and speech production data, and a toolkit developed to encourage interdisciplinary research.

The project is a collaboration among the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science and the School of Arts and Humanities, as well as the Callier Center for Communication Disorders and corporate sponsors.

The project employs a state-of-the-art electromagnetic tracking system to monitor multiple positions on the tongue, jaw and lips simultaneously during speech production. The researchers are developing a user interface for real-time and off-line visualization of the tongue, jaw and lips.

The research will provide therapists, researchers and clinicians with highly sophisticated tools and resources to measure and compare speech production data, potentially leading to better therapies in the future.