The aim of the Center for Translational Neurophysiology of Speech and Communication CTNSC@UniFe is twofold. On one hand, we are studying how the brain builds communicative and linguistic representations. On the other hand, we are designing new brain interfaces, specifically conceived for human use, to transduce and computationally decode neural signals. A focus of the Center is on communication because we believe that many paralyzing pathologies require, at first, the restoring of an efficient communicative flow between the patient and the environment.
To this purpose, we are studying the mechanisms by which the brain processes and understands the communicative behaviors of other individuals to efficiently decode the brain signals related to communicative intentions. We are applying innovative and biologically-compatible technologies to the problem of automatic speech and action recognition (Speech and Communication Team) and we are designing a new generation of brain electronic devices characterized by reduced invasiveness, improved resolution, ultrasensitivity and capability to record and stimulate brain regions (Neurotechnologies Team).
In summary, with a critical focus on translational methodologies (single unit recordings, Micro-ECoG, fMRI, EEG, TMS), our research goal is to advance knowledge on brain functioning to help building the next generation of brain-computer interfaces. The group research activities span from basic research to applied one along three main research units:
- Design and fabrication of long-term stable neural interfaces with high signal-to-noise ratio and spatio-temporal resolution.
- Research on brain centers and circuits involved in action/speech understanding
- Research on new efficient methods for automatic speech recognition from audio and multimodal signals (e.g., audio-visual)
Collaborations with other National and International labs are fundamental. A particularly intense collaboration is running between CTNSC@UniFe and the Neurosurgery Unit of Udine Hospital.