Real-time cerebellar neuroprosthetic system based on a spiking neural network model of motor learning

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

7 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations



Original languageEnglish
Article number016021
Journal / PublicationJournal of Neural Engineering
Issue number1
Online published16 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


Objective. Damage to the brain, as a result of various medical conditions, impacts the everyday life of patients and there is still no complete cure to neurological disorders. Neuroprostheses that can functionally replace the damaged neural circuit have recently emerged as a possible solution to these problems. Here we describe the development of a real-time cerebellar neuroprosthetic system to substitute neural function in cerebellar circuitry for learning delay eyeblink conditioning (DEC). Approach. The system was empowered by a biologically realistic spiking neural network (SNN) model of the cerebellar neural circuit, which considers the neuronal population and anatomical connectivity of the network. The model simulated synaptic plasticity critical for learning DEC. This SNN model was carefully implemented on a field programmable gate array (FPGA) platform for real-time simulation. This hardware system was interfaced in in vivo experiments with anesthetized rats and it used neural spikes recorded online from the animal to learn and trigger conditioned eyeblink in the animal during training. Main results. This rat-FPGA hybrid system was able to process neuronal spikes in real-time with an embedded cerebellum model of ∼10 000 neurons and reproduce learning of DEC with different inter-stimulus intervals. Our results validated that the system performance is physiologically relevant at both the neural (firing pattern) and behavioral (eyeblink pattern) levels. Significance. This integrated system provides the sufficient computation power for mimicking the cerebellar circuit in real-time. The system interacts with the biological system naturally at the spike level and can be generalized for including other neural components (neuron types and plasticity) and neural functions for potential neuroprosthetic applications.

Research Area(s)

  • cerebellum, delay eyeblink conditioning, FPGA, neuroprosthetics, spiking neural network model