TitleActive Mechatronic Interface for Haptic Perception Studies with Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Compatibility and Design Criteria
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2006
Conference NameProc. IEEE Int. Conf. on Robotics and Automation
Publication Languageeng
AuthorsGassert, R, Vanello, N, Chapuis, D, Hartwig, V, Scilingo, EP, Bicchi, A, Landini, L, Burdet, E, Bleuler, H

Functional brain exploration methodologies such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), are critical tools to study perceptual and cognitive processes. In order to develop complex and well controlled fMRI paradigms, researchers are interested in using active interfaces with electrically powered actuators and sensors. Due to the particularity of the MR environment, safety and compatibility criteria have to be strictly followed in order to avoid risks to the subject under test, to the operators or to the environment, as well as to avoid artifacts in the images. This paper describes the design of an fMRI compatible mechatronic interface based on MR compatibility tests of materials and actuators. In particular, a new statistical test looks at the mean and variations of activity as a time series. The device with two degrees of freedom, allowing one translation with positionfeedback along a horizontal axis and one rotation about a vertical axis linked to the translation, was realized to investigate the brain mechanisms of dynamic tactile perception tasks. It can be used to move and orient various objects below the finger for controlled tactile stimulation. The MR compatibility of the complete interface is shown using the same statistical test as well as a functional study with a human subject.

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