Collin Arocho
10 December 2020

The European Research Council (ERC) has selected Yao-Hong Liu of Holst Centre as one of the recipients of its Consolidator Grant. The award, which totals two million euros, comes to Liu for his project called the “Intranet of Neurons” (IoN). The aim is to change the way neuroscientist collect and process neural data by enabling the efficient transfer, at a high data rate, from high-density sub-dural implanted recording probes, while still maintaining a small footprint required for minimally invasive surgery.

Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are designed to restore sensory-motor or cognitive functions due to trauma or neural disorders. The currently available BCIs, however, can only record less than 1,000 neurons, and are limited to controlling simple motions such as grasping. The new wireless telemetry network proposed by Liu has the capacity to support tens of distributed recording nodes (enabling mroe than 10,000 channels) simultaneously. IoN will significantly scale up brain-wide recordings and propel research into brain-computer interfaces forward.

“The ERC Consolidator Grant gives me the opportunity to perform groundbreaking research for BCIs. It will make the acquisition of data from large-scale neural recordings possible, from 100 times more neurons than with existing technologies, distributed across multiple areas of the human brain,” says Liu. “This technology will also drastically improve the information throughput of existing BCIs by at least 100 times, enabling patients with disability to reconnect to the world.”