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UTSA acquires high-performance EEG systems to advance brain research

Huang brain research
Huang brain research

Top photo: Electroencephalogram (EEG) system to measure brain waves
Bottom photo: At left, UTSA Professor Yufei Huang with student and brain study participant
(Photos by Deborah Silliman Wolfe)

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(June 29, 2014) -- A recent $400,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense has allowed UTSA to acquire two high-performance electroencephalogram (EEG) systems to advance research and education in the area of brain-machine interaction (BMI).

Understanding how the human brain functions and how this knowledge can benefit society is both a UTSA and a national research priority. BMI, also known as brain-computer interface (BCI), is a field focused on assisting, augmenting or repairing human cognitive or sensory-motor functions.

The new equipment, housed in the BMI Lab in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building, will enable several highly interdisciplinary research and educational projects in BMI and brain research led by six professors from five departments across UTSA.

Yufei Huang, UTSA professor of electrical and computer engineering and principal investigator of this grant, recognized the university-wide need for high-performance EEG systems, which are state-of-the-art, non-invasive devices for measuring brainwaves in real time in both laboratory and real-life environments. Very few universities across the country have equipment of this quality.

"UTSA already has a strong presence in neuroscience research and education," said Huang. "This new EEG technology will significantly enhance our scholarly contributions to advancing new knowledge in brain research. Our long-term vision is to develop a top-tier research and education center on brain-machine interaction at UTSA."

New EEG systems will support the following projects at UTSA:

  • Huang and computer science professor Kay A. Robbins will use the EEG equipment to develop and implement a computational system to monitor brain activities in realistic, event-rich environments. This research is part of the Cognitional and Neuroergonomics Collaborative Technology Alliance (CANCTA), a multi-institution collaboration funded by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL).
  • Robbins also will use the equipment to capture data from the brain during attention and learning tasks in order to build a database that will help researchers see patterns in brain activity. This project also is part of CANCTA, funded by ARL.
  • Electrical and computer engineering professor and chair Daniel Pack and Huang will use the equipment to design and implement a BMI system that uses brain signals generated by a soldier to navigate small unmanned aerial vehicles for military operations such as collecting intelligence, performing surveillance and conducting reconnaissance missions. This project is funded by the ARL.
  • Kinesiology associate professor Wan Xiang Yao will use the equipment to examine the neuromechanisms underlying the transfer of learning from one side of the body to another and metal imagery practice, which will be helpful for patients relearning motor skills lost due to traumatic brain injury or disease, such as a stroke.
  • Biology assistant professor Nicole Wicha will use the equipment to determine the neurodevelopmental trajectory for arithmetic fact learning in bilingual children.
  • Mechanical and biomedical engineering professor Yusheng Feng will use the equipment to develop a real-time feedback tutoring algorithm to monitor students' brain activity when they are studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics. He also will use the algorithm to provide students with learning disabilities feedback to improve their study habits by providing vivid encouraging visualization cues.

More than two-dozen UTSA faculty members and their graduate and undergraduate students are actively involved in brain research and education, many of whom are affiliated with the UTSA Neurosciences Institute, a multidisciplinary research organization for integrated brain studies.

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Events
Feb. 5, 6:15 p.m.

First Friday Stargazing

The UTSA Department of Physics and Astronomy's Curtis Vaughan Observatory will offer free stargazing for the public beginning on top of the 4th floor of the Flawn Science Building. Experienced astronomers will be on hand to show a variety of astronomical objects and answer any questions. This event is free and open to the public, so feel free to invite friends and family.
Curtis Vaughan Observatory

Feb. 6, All Day

10th annual San Antonio Writing Project Teachers' Conference

This year's keynote speaker is Donalyn Miller, author of The Book Whisper. The event will feature breakout sessions and a presentation by the Creative Writers from North East School of the Arts. The event is free and open to all teachers from Pre-K through university level. Attendees can earn a certificate for 3 hours of Professional Development Credit.
Riklin Auditorium (FS1.406), Downtown Campus

Feb. 9, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. & 6 - 9 p.m.

Rowdy Gras 2016

The UTSA community is invited to attend the 3rd annual Rowdy Gras celebration! This year Rowdy Gras includes a daytime event from 11 a.m. -1 p.m. with a free food tasting and music on the UC Paseo. The main event takes place from 6 - 9 p.m. in the UC Lawn. The event includes free food, live jazz music, activities and giveaways.
University Center Paseo & Lawn, UTSA Main Campus

Feb. 10, 5:30 p.m.

UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning 2015-16 Speaker Series

The UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning’s 2015-16 Speaker Series continues with Dana Cuff, Ph.D., a professor of architecture and urbanism at the University of California, Los Angeles. In her talk, Cuff will discuss new forms of “studio” and new types of practices. Free and open to the public.
Aula Canaria Lecture Hall (BV 1.328), UTSA Downtown Campus

Feb. 13, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

29th annual Asian Festival - Year of the Monkey

The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures invites Texas and Texans to the Asian Festival. What began as a traditional family reunion for the Chinese New Year has expanded to include other Asian communities and participants, showcasing their unique culture and traditions.
The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures

Feb. 13, 1 p.m.

2016 Interdisciplinary Studies Colloquium

Join the UTSA Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching in celebrating interdisciplinary inquiry at the 2016  Interdisciplinary Studies Colloquium.  The colloquium will include a panel of faculty and recent doctoral graduate and a showcase of the best IDS undergraduate inquiry projects of the year 2015. The event is free and open to the public.
Business Building (BB 2.06.04), UTSA Main Campus

Feb. 23, 5:30 p.m.

African-American Social Welfare Pioneers Responding to Community Needs

The UTSA College of Public Policy presents the Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series featuring Dr. Iris Carlton-LaNey, Professor of the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Dr. Iris Carlton LaNey will speak to the UTSA community about the role and impact of African-Americans in the social work profession.
Buena Vista Theater (BV 1.326), Downtown Campus

Feb. 23, 7 p.m.

Presentation and Book Signing with Luis Carlos Montalvan

Please join us for a presentation and book signing by Luis Carlos Montalván (Fmr. Capt., USA), author of the New York Times Bestseller Until Tuesday and the international award-winning childrens book Tuesday Tucks Me In. His books will be available for purchase at the UTSA Bookstore. This event is free and open to the public.
Southwest Room (DB 1.124), Downtown Campus

Feb. 25, 6 p.m.

12th Annual Black Heritage Gala

The 12th Annual Black Heritage Gala is a formal event which includes a student performance, keynote remarks by Michael Brown, an award presentation, dinner and dancing. Tickets are $10 for UTSA students and $15 for all other guests. Tickets are on sale now at Roadrunner Express. Contact (210) 458-4770 for more information.
H-E-B University Center Ballroom, Main Campus

Feb. 27, 9 a.m.

Cultural Contrasts in Latin America

The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures will host a free workshop focusing on teaching Latin American culture and geography for students seeking their teacher certification. The workshop includes free resources for teaching Latin American subject matter as well as presentations on language, identity, music, geography, and political and developmental history, and a special educators’ tour of the museum’s Los Tejanos exhibit. Free with registration.
The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures (ITC 3.01.02)


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