Optical Sensing, Embedded Systems, and Musical Interfaces for Functional Neuroimaging



John Sullivan

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Avrum Hollinger

Publication or Conference Title:

Ph.D. Thesis, McGill University


Behavioural neuroscience experiments are increasingly making use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and require new physical interfaces augmented with sensors and electronic control systems to capture behaviour in synchrony with the MRI
scanner, while presenting stimuli and feedback. These interfaces permit neuroscientists to correlate changes in neural activity.

I have designed and built novel optical sensors, optoelectronic acquisition and control systems, and augmented MRI-compatible musical interfaces for use in musical neuroimaging experiments. The fibre optic sensors were created for the measurement of proximity, position, displacement, flexion, force, vibration, and magnetic field. The embedded systems that have been developed enable optoelectronic signal acquisition, logging, communication, and real-time presentation (including mapping and synthesis) of auditory feedback, with the goal of a self-contained system to perform behavioural experiments.

These MRI-compatible musical interfaces include: the Ballagumi, a novel flexible silicone instrument; an optoelectronic piano keyboard; and an optoacoustic cello. The piano and cello have been utilized in neuroimaging experiments, allowing, for the first time, the capture of musician gestures during actual performance on musical instruments within the MRI scanner. Presented herein is the iterative development and testing of these technologies. Additionally, the literature on MRI-compatible musical interfaces and related fields is reviewed, as well as future developments of these technologies and their applications in behavioural neuroscience, neuro-rehabilitation, and music performance.

Publication Details:

Ph.D. Dissertation
Montreal, Canada

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