Neuromorphic processors that implement Spiking Neural Networks (SNNs) using mixed-signal analog/digital circuits represent a promising technology for closed-loop real-time processing of biosignals. As in biology, to minimize power consumption, the silicon neurons' circuits are configured to fire with a limited dynamic range and with maximum firing rates restricted to a few tens or hundreds of Herz. However, biosignals can have a very large dynamic range, so encoding them into spikes without saturating the neuron outputs represents an open challenge. In this work, we present a biologically-inspired strategy for compressing this high-dynamic range in SNN architectures, using three adaptation mechanisms ubiquitous in the brain: spike-frequency adaptation at the single neuron level, feed-forward inhibitory connections from neurons belonging to the input layer, and Excitatory-Inhibitory (E-I) balance via recurrent inhibition among neurons in the output layer. We apply this strategy to input biosignals encoded using both an asynchronous delta modulation method and an energy-based pulse-frequency modulation method. We validate this approach in silico, simulating a simple network applied to a gesture classification task from surface EMG recordings.
Discrimination of hand gestures based on the decoding of surface electromyography (sEMG) signals is a well-establish approach for controlling prosthetic devices and for Human-Machine Interfaces (HMI). However, despite the promising results achieved by this approach in well-controlled experimental conditions, its deployment in long-term real-world application scenarios is still hindered by several challenges. One of the most critical challenges is maintaining high EMG data classification performance across multiple days without retraining the decoding system. The drop in performance is mostly due to the high EMG variability caused by electrodes shift, muscle artifacts, fatigue, user adaptation, or skin-electrode interfacing issues. Here we propose a novel statistical method based on canonical correlation analysis (CCA) that stabilizes EMG classification performance across multiple days for long-term control of prosthetic devices. We show how CCA can dramatically decrease the performance drop of standard classifiers observed across days, by maximizing the correlation among multiple-day acquisition data sets. Our results show how the performance of a classifier trained on EMG data acquired only of the first day of the experiment maintains 90% relative accuracy across multiple days, compensating for the EMG data variability that occurs over long-term periods, using the CCA transformation on data obtained from a small number of gestures. This approach eliminates the need for large data sets and multiple or periodic training sessions, which currently hamper the usability of conventional pattern recognition based approaches
Real-time analysis and classification of bio-signals measured using wearable devices is computationally costly and requires dedicated low-power hardware. One promising approach is to use spiking neural networks implemented using in-memory computing architectures and neuromorphic electronic circuits. However, as these circuits process data in streaming mode without the possibility of storing it in external buffers, a major challenge lies in the processing of spatio-temporal signals that last longer than the time constants present in the network synapses and neurons. Here we propose to extend the memory capacity of a spiking neural network by using parallel delay chains. We show that it is possible to map temporal signals of multiple seconds into spiking activity distributed across multiple neurons which have time constants of few milliseconds. We validate this approach on an ECG anomaly detection task and present experimental results that demonstrate how temporal information is properly preserved in the network activity.
Synapses play a critical role in memory, learning, and cognition. Their main functions include converting pre-synaptic voltage spikes to post-synaptic currents, as well as scaling the input signal. Several brain-inspired architectures have been proposed to emulate the behavior of biological synapses. While these are useful to explore the properties of nervous systems, the challenge of making biocompatible and flexible circuits with biologically plausible time constants and tunable gain remains. Here, a physically flexible organic log-domain integrator synaptic circuit is shown to address this challenge. In particular, the circuit is fabricated using organic-based materials that are electrically active, offer flexibility and biocompatibility, as well as time constants (critical in learning neural codes and encoding spatiotemporal patterns) that are biologically plausible. Using a 10 nF synaptic capacitor, the time constant reached 126 ms and 221 ms before and during bending, respectively. The flexible synaptic circuit is characterized before and during bending, followed by studies on the effects of weighting voltage, synaptic capacitance, and disparity in pre-synaptic signals on the time constant.
Despite neuromorphic engineering promises the deployment of low latency, adaptive and low power systems that can lead to the design of truly autonomous artificial agents, the development of a fully neuromorphic artificial agent is still missing. While neuromorphic sensing and perception, as well as decision-making systems, are now mature, the control and actuation part is lagging behind. In this paper, we present a closed-loop motor controller implemented on mixed-signal analog-digital neuromorphic hardware using a spiking neural network. The network performs a proportional control action by encoding target, feedback, and error signals using a spiking relational network. It continuously calculates the error through a connectivity pattern, which relates the three variables by means of feed-forward connections. Recurrent connections within each population are used to speed up the convergence, decrease the effect of mismatch and improve selectivity. The neuromorphic motor controller is interfaced with the iCub robot simulator. We tested our spiking P controller in a single joint control task, specifically for the robot head yaw. The spiking controller sends the target positions, reads the motor state from its encoder, and sends back the motor commands to the joint. The performance of the spiking controller is tested in a step response experiment and in a target pursuit task. In this work, we optimize the network structure to make it more robust to noisy inputs and device mismatch, which leads to better control performances.
With the advent of dedicated Deep Learning (DL) accelerators and neuromorphic processors, new opportunities are emerging for applying deep and Spiking Neural Network (SNN) algorithms to healthcare and biomedical applications at the edge. This can facilitate the advancement of the medical Internet of Things (IoT) systems and Point of Care (PoC) devices. In this paper, we provide a tutorial describing how various technologies ranging from emerging memristive devices, to established Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), and mature Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) technology can be used to develop efficient DL accelerators to solve a wide variety of diagnostic, pattern recognition, and signal processing problems in healthcare. Furthermore, we explore how spiking neuromorphic processors can complement their DL counterparts for processing biomedical signals. After providing the required background, we unify the sparsely distributed research on neural network and neuromorphic hardware implementations as applied to the healthcare domain. In addition, we benchmark various hardware platforms by performing a biomedical electromyography (EMG) signal processing task and drawing comparisons among them in terms of inference delay and energy. Finally, we provide our analysis of the field and share a perspective on the advantages, disadvantages, challenges, and opportunities that different accelerators and neuromorphic processors introduce to healthcare and biomedical domains. This paper can serve a large audience, ranging from nanoelectronics researchers, to biomedical and healthcare practitioners in grasping the fundamental interplay between hardware, algorithms, and clinical adoption of these tools, as we shed light on the future of deep networks and spiking neuromorphic processing systems as proponents for driving biomedical circuits and systems forward.
The discrimination of human gestures using wearable solutions is extremely important as a supporting technique for assisted living, healthcare of the elderly and neurorehabilitation. This paper presents a mobile electromyography (EMG) analysis framework to be an auxiliary component in physiotherapy sessions or as a feedback for neuroprosthesis calibration. We implemented a framework that allows the integration of multisensors, EMG and visual information, to perform sensor fusion and to improve the accuracy of hand gesture recognition tasks. In particular, we used an event-based camera adapted to run on the limited computational resources of mobile phones. We introduced a new publicly available dataset of sensor fusion for hand gesture recognition recorded from 10 subjects and used it to train the recognition models offline. We compare the online results of the hand gesture recognition using the fusion approach with the individual sensors with an improvement in the accuracy of 13% and 11%, for EMG and vision respectively, reaching 85%.