Local researchers to partner in 'sensorimotor' project - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Local researchers to partner in 'sensorimotor' project

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - San Diego State University, Southwestern College in Chula Vista and the San Diego-based life science industry group BIOCOM will be partners in researching the brain's control of body movements, the National Science Foundation announced Thursday.

The goal of the $18.5 million study will be to translate the findings into improved prosthetics for amputees, sensor-electrode systems that reanimate paralyzed limbs and home-based rehabilitation for spinal cord injuries.

The project could benefit wounded soldiers, accident victims with spinal cord injuries and those who suffer from cerebral palsy, stroke, Parkinson's disease or age-related neurological disorders.

"Our ultimate goal is that we want to remotely control a robotic device through neural function, not joysticks," SDSU mechanical engineering Professor Kee Moon said.

A team of 10 SDSU mechanical and electrical engineering faculty will work on the project, using the College of Engineering's Clean Room.

"SDSU is a partner in this prestigious award because of our faculty's research, our students' excellence at impacting industry after graduation, and San Diego's business environment that is recognized globally for its entrepreneurial culture in biology, wireless technologies and software," Moon said.

Moon said SDSU's role will be to develop sensors that can be implanted into the brain, along with wireless interfaces and mathematic models of brain function.

Other research partners will be the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Spelman College, Morehouse College and the University of Washington, where the Engineering Research Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering will be based. Area hospitals are also expected to participate.

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