• 4 IIT@UNIFE © 2016 IIT 4851
  • 1 IIT@UNIFE © 2016 IIT 4847
  • 8 IIT@UNIFE © 2016 IIT 4855
  • 2 IIT@UNIFE © 2016 IIT 4849
  • 7 IIT@UNIFE © 2016 IIT 4854

The aim of the Center for Translational Neurophysiology of Speech and Communication CTNSC@UniFe is twofold. On one hand, we are studying how the brain builds communicative and linguistic representations. On the other hand, we are designing new brain interfaces, specifically conceived for human use, to transduce and computationally decode neural signals. A focus of the Center is on communication because we believe that many paralyzing pathologies require, at first, the restoring of an efficient communicative flow between the patient and the environment.

To this purpose, we are studying the mechanisms by which the brain processes and understands the communicative behaviors of other individuals to efficiently decode the brain signals related to communicative intentions. We are applying innovative and biologically-compatible technologies to the problem of automatic speech and action recognition (Speech and Communication Team) and we are designing a new generation of brain electronic devices characterized by reduced invasiveness, improved resolution, ultrasensitivity and capability to record and stimulate brain regions (Neurotechnologies Team).

In summary, with a critical focus on translational methodologies (single unit recordings, Micro-ECoG, fMRI, EEG, TMS), our research goal is to advance knowledge on brain functioning to help building the next generation of brain-computer interfaces. The group research activities span from basic research to applied one along three main research lines:

  • Design and fabrication of long-term stable neural interfaces with high signal-to-noise ratio and spatio-temporal resolution.
  • Research on brain centers and circuits involved in action/speech understanding
  • Research on new efficient methods for automatic speech recognition from audio and multimodal signals (e.g., audio-visual)

Collaborations with other National and International labs are fundamental. A particularly intense collaboration is running between CTNSC@UniFe and the Neurosurgery Unit of Udine Hospital.

Laboratories

CTNSC@UniFe hosts state-of-the-art facilities for motion capture, neurophysiology, histology, cell culture, organic electronics, electrochemistry, materials and devices characterization.

  • Neuronavigated Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, High density Electroencephalography, Eye-tracking, Optical Motion Tracking and ElectroMagnetic Articulography
  • Tethered and wireless multichannel neural recording and stimulation, Neuron Tracing Fluorescence Microscopy, Histology Sectioning Microtome, Primary Cells Culture facilities
  • Galvanostats/Potentiostats, Electropolymerization, High Resolution Optical Microscopy, LCR meter, Electrometers, Dual Source Meters, Scanning Probe Microscope, Probe station, Contact Angle Measurement, Plasma, Profilometer;
  • Processing/fabrication/characterization line for organic electronics materials and devices: high-vacuum chambers for metal evaporation and organic thin film sublimation; glove boxe with spin coating; dip coating and vertical deposition.

Research Lines

The aim of the research line in Multiscale Brain Communication, within the CTNSC@UniFe, is twofold. On one side we are studying how the brain builds communicative and linguistic representations. On the other side we are designing new brain interfaces, specifically conceived for human use, to record and computationally decode neural signals. A particular focus of our line is on communication because we believe that many paralyzing pathologies require, at first, the restoring of an efficient communicative flow between the patient and the environment.

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Collaborations

  • Translational Neurophysiology on Humans – Miran Skrap - Neurochirurgia, Ospedale di Udine
  • Ultraflexible electrode arrays - Guglielmo Fortunato – CNR-IMM – Roma
  • Polyimide Based Ultraconformable arrays- Thomas Stieglitz - Laboratory for Biomedical Microtechnology, Department of Microsystems Engineering - IMTEK, University of Freiburg, Germany
  • Glassy carbon electrode arrays - Sam Kassegne - San Diego State University - USA
  • Marmoset motor cortex mapping – Atsushi Iriki – RIKEN Brain Science Institute – Saitama – Japan
  • Action perception and motor control - Thierry Pozzo – CTNSC@IIT and INSERM - U1093 Cognition, Action, and Sensorimotor Plasticity, Dijon, France
  • Motor intention understanding - Cristina Becchio –  Center for Human Technologies (IIT) , Italy
  • The shared syntax of action, music and language - Stefan Kölsch - University in Bergen, Norway
  • Computational investigation of action primitives - Yiannis Aloimonos - University of Maryland, USA
  • The syntax of action, objects affordances and language - Katerina Pastra - Cognitive Systems Research Institute and Institute for Language and Speech Processing, Athens, Greece
  • Object affordances in humans and robots - Jose Santos-Victor - Instituto Superior Técnico, Institute of Systems and Robotics, Lisboa, Portugal
  • The motor system in speech and language perception - Friedemann Pulvermüller - Institut für Deutsche und Niederländische Philologie, Berlin, Germany
  • Automatic speech recognition for robotics- Giorgio Metta – iCub@IIT
  • Articulatory automatic speech recognition and acoustic inversion – Raman Arora – Center for Language and Speech Processing, Johns Hopkins University
  • Machine learning techniques for automatic speech recognition – Massimiliano Pontil –Computational and Statistical Learning, IIT
  • Automatic speech recognition for dysarthric speech – Frank Rudzicz – University of Toronto
  • Goal-directed sensorimotor coordination in group interaction - Andrea Gaggioli and Giuseppe Riva – Università Cattolica di Milano and IRCCS Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Milano, Italy
  • Sensorimotor signaling - Giovanni Pezzulo - Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies (ISTC-CNR), Roma
  • Sensorimotor entrainment to musical ensembles - Gualtiero Volpe and Antonio Camurri – University of Genova
  • Complex social interaction in musical ensembles - Peter Keller - University of Western Sydney, Australia
  • Impedance spectroscopy and device characterization-Henrique L. Gomes- Electronic Engineering-Universidade do Algarve, Faro, Portugal.
  • Analysis of signals and molecular modelling- Francesco Zerbetto- Alma Mater Università di Bologna
  • Organic electronics biosensors – Carlo Augusto Bortolotti – Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia, Modena.