Indian American Professor Led Team Funded by DARPA's $19 Million for Wearable Device Project

The device emits an array of electrical stimulators that can assess and treat neurodegenerative diseases

Fremont, CA: The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has granted $19 million to the team of researchers at Carnegie Mellon University led by Indian American associate professor Pulkit Grover for their design of noninvasive neural interface wearable device.

The noninvasive device, which is capable of recording and stimulating the brain's dynamic activities with high temporal and spatial resolution, can also be used as the next-gen brain-machine interface platform. A university press release stated that the device gives access to previously difficult to access neural circuits that can lead to the study of the brain’s function and dysfunction.

DARPA, as part of its development and research of next-gen nonsurgical-neurotechnology projects, found the potential in the research that can be used to design apt therapeutic interventions to treat neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s.

Grover, who is an associate professor in the electrical and computer engineering department, stated that the team developed the interface by combining the concepts biology, engineering, and physics with light, electricity and ultrasound technologies.

"The perspective that our team adopted, which is quite novel, is not to fight the physics that limit our ability to affect the brain noninvasively,” said Grover in a university statement. Instead, he continues, we tried to harness the complex physics and biology associated with the problem, aiming to improve the temporal and spatial resolution of stimulating and measuring the brain.

The project focus is split between Grover and his fellow researcher Maysam Chamanzar, assistant professor of ECE department. While Chamanzar aims at sensing the brain’s functions with non-invasive neural interfaces, Grover focuses on the stimulation of the brain that can provide targeted, localized treatments without the need for surgical interventions.

Along with the funding of DARPA the team hopes to advance their research to develop precise neurostimulation treatments accessible to a larger section of population without delay.

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