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Pacific Science Center Exhibit Features Research by Howard Chizeck

A new Pacific Science Center exhibit features the work of EE Professor Howard Chizeck and students in the BioRobotics Lab. The exhibit, called “Memory: Past Meets Present,” focuses on how the brain retains information on repetitive actions performed by the body. The exhibit runs through March 6, 2016.

One panel of the exhibit highlights the Deep Brain Stimulator (DBS) for essential tremor project led by EE Ph.D. students Jeffrey Herron and Margaret Thompson. Funded by Medtronic, the research project aims to build closed-loop DBS systems to improve treatment for people with neurological disorders such as essential tremor. DBS is a widely adopted method for treating neurological and movement disorders by sending electrical impulses to specific parts of the brain through an implanted DBS, also called a brain pacemaker.

One challenge with current systems is that they are constantly “on” and may provide stimulation to patients when not needed, resulting in unintended side effects as well as reduced battery life. To address this, Herron and Thompson are working to improve current systems by developing a closed-loop system to provide treatment only when needed.

To learn more, read the research synopsis on page 16 of EEK, the department’s annual research journal.

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