Closed Loop Therapy and Secure Brain Computer Interfaces Using Deep Brain Stimulators

Howard Jay Chizeck

Professor of Electrical Engineering

Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering

University of Washington

Deep brain stimulation, essentially a pacemaker for the brain, has been approved to treat Essential Tremor, Parkinson’s Disease and Dystonia—and is being explored for a wide variety of other conditions. Concerns about extension of surgically implanted battery life, mitigation of the undesirable side effects of stimulation, and improved treatment effectiveness, have all motivated the development of closed loop systems which can adjust stimulation levels, so as to achieve a good tradeoff of these costs and benefits. Stimulation control can be based on externally worn sensors to detect the presence and magnitude of limb tremor, or on sensing electrodes in the brain to detect incipient or active tremor. In addition, electrodes used for sensing can potentially provide patients with the ability to voluntarily adjust their stimulation. For example, the negative effects of stimulation on speaking could be reduced voluntarily, for a while, at the cost of more tremor. In addition, signals derived from implanted electrodes can be used for Brain Computer Interfaces (for example, allowing a person without adequate finger dexterity to operate a touch screen device). This talk will describe research involving the development and testing of these cyberphysical systems. In addition, the use of systems involving neural interfaces (including EEG headband-driven on line gaming) opens security concerns—specifically the involuntary extraction of private information from individuals through signal cross-talk. An approach to enhancing privacy for these devices will also be presented.


Howard Jay Chizeck received his B.S (1974) and M.S. (1976) degrees from Case Western Reserve University, and the Sc.D. degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1982. Currently, he is a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Adjunct Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington, and a member of the faculty in the Neuroscience graduate program.

His research interests are in telerobotics and neural engineering. His telerobotic research includes haptic rendering and control for robotic surgery and for underwater devices. His neural engineering work involves the design and security of brain-machine interfaces, and the development of assistive devices to restore hand and locomotion capabilities. Professor Chizeck is a research thrust leader for the NSF Engineering Research Center for Sensorimotor Neural

Engineering ( Professor Chizeck was elected a Fellow of the IEEE in 1999 "for contributions to the use of control system theory in biomedical engineering” and he was elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) College of Fellows in 2011 for “contributions to the use of control system theory in functional electrical stimulation assisted walking.”