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Novel stimulation technologies for motor control and sensory feedback




MAS: Media Arts and Sciences

Faculty Supervisor:

Hugh Herr

Faculty email:


Apply by:



Guillermo Herrera-Arcos, gherrera@media.mit.edu

Project Description

The Biomechatronics Group seeks to advance technologies that promise to accelerate the merging of body and machine, including device architectures that resemble the body’s own musculoskeletal design, actuator technologies that behave like muscle, and control methodologies that exploit principles of biological movement. This work leverages knowledge from the fields of biomechanics, neuroscience, robotics, and medicine. The group has developed highly advanced bionic devices capable of reproducing biological movement in amputees, but more recently, the lab has been exploring the use of stimulation techniques to artificially actuate existing neuromusculature i.e. spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy and stroke, as well as to provide more natural sensory feedback to amputees. This is done using optogenetics, a technique that combines genetically engineered photosensitive proteins and optical stimulation. The objective of the project is to design a closed-loop controller that stimulates living tissue in animals to show motion restoration. Main Responsibilities: 1. Design of software tools for analysis and interpretation of experimental data, as well as software tools for modeling and closed-loop control design. 2. Help perform experiments with living tissue/animals. This will include surgical procedures design to implant sensing and stimulation hardware and assistance in running experiments.


1. Programming, data analysis skills. Preferred but not required: MATLAB and Simulink. 2. Preferred but not required: experience working with living tissue/animals, histology, biology background.