Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is an invasive therapy broadly used to treat the symptoms of neurological and mental diseases. DBS is currently performed by means of surgically implanted multi-contact electrodes delivering electrical stimulation to well-defined targets in the brain of the patient. The therapeutical effect is much dependent on the individual and can be improved by selecting suitable stimulation settings such as amplitude, frequency, and the signal form of the stimuli pulse train. Insufficient stimulation of the target area does not properly alleviate the symptoms of the treated disease, while overstimulation is prone to undesirable side effects.
A major complication on the way of the individualization and optimization of the DBS therapy is the fact that the biological mechanism behind its therapeutical effect is basically unknown. Selecting the stimulation parameters by medical personnel in a trial-and-error procedure takes up to several months and numerous visits to the clinic.
A significant progress in the computer-assisted individualization and optimization of DBS has been recently made. The talk reviews the mathematical models that describe how the electrical pulses emitted by the electrode propagate through the brain tissue and interact with neural populations. Provided measurements of the local potential are available from the electrode, model-based estimation of the electrical properties of the tissue around the electrode can be performed. The problem of target coverage and stimuli spill minimization is cast as a spatial control problem and solved by optimization. The technology for symptoms quantification in neurological diseases is also reviewed. Finally, an outlook on the prospects of of the individualized DBS therapies is offered.
While robots are already doing a wonderful job as factory workhorses, they are now gradually appearing in our daily environments and offering their services as autonomous cars, delivery drones, helpers in search and rescue and much more.
For fast search & rescue or inspection of complex environments, flying robots are probably the most efficient and versatile devices. However, the limited flight time and payload, as well as the restricted computing power of drones renders autonomous operations quite challenging.
This talk will focus on the design and autonomous navigation of flying robots. Innovative designs of flying systems, from novel concepts of omni-directional multi-copters and blimps to solar airplanes for continuous flights are presented. Recent results of visual and laser based navigation (localization, mapping, planning) in GPS denied environments are showcased and discussed. Performance and potential applications are presented.
Photo credits: Palais des Congrès de Saint-Raphaël