The prism lab discovers new ways to decode behavioral and physiological manifestations of communicative intent in nonverbal children and youth with severe physical disabilities. Current research projects include various motor-based access technologies that harness orofacial gestures, muscle contractions, and vocal fold vibrations, as well as brain-based access alternatives including opto-hemodynamic and neuro-electric brain-machine interfaces. Specifically, we have developed brain-machine interfaces that are driven by mental tasks, those that are controlled by intentional modulation of blood flow in a task-free paradigm, as well as interfaces that detect particular event-related potentials as well as spontaneous evolution of brain states. In parallel, we have developed an access technology delivery protocol that engages the client, families and where appropriate teaching staff and clinicians to facilitate consistent and functional use of novel access technology. To be eligible, students must be currently enrolled in an engineering/technical program with an academic average of 80% or higher.
See Tom Chau's Scientist Profile