The Cluster of Excellence »BrainLinks-BrainTools« of the University of Freiburg held its first annual workshop on the 19th and 20th of September at the Fraunhofer-Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF. Almost one year after the foundation of the interdisciplinary research initiative in the field of neurotechnology the 100 participants discussed their latest research results and future projects. Part of the workshop was a poster session with 40 posters on current research projects in the entrance hall of the institute.
The Excellence Cluster »BrainLinks-BrainTools« which was founded almost one year ago, develops medical technologies that are able to directly interact with the nervous system. Scientists from the faculties of Biology, Microsystems Engineering, Computer Science and Medicine are elaborating flexible and stable interfaces between the brain and technical devices in order to optimize the exchange of information in both directions. The main aim of the interdisciplinary research initiative is the development of intelligent implants which independently recognize and eliminate perturbations of the brain, as well as systems which are able to steer external devices such as prosthesis or communication aids, based on brain activities.
At the beginning of the two-day workshop the participants exchanged the results of their first year of intensive research. The research group of Dr. Tonio Ball from the field of clinical applications showed how a robot arm can be steered only by brainwaves – even across large distances. The combination of laser diodes with axicon and optrode for applications in optogenetics was discussed as one of the core technologies. In the field of basic research, scientists presented examinations on the activity dynamics of neural nets in the case of epilepsy. Besides presenting and discussing latest research findings, the scientists also used the workshop to gather new ideas for further research topics and project applications.