Frank Willett, PhD
Louis Stokes VA Medical Center, Cleveland FES Center
Neural Prosthetics Translational Laboratory, Stanford University
Frank Willett’s BrainGate research has two aims: (1) modeling the feedback control dynamics involved in using an intracortical brain-computer interface (iBCI) and (2) restoring arm and hand function by combining an iBCI with electrical stimulation of paralyzed muscles. Towards the first aim, Frank has developed a new model of how people modulate their neural activity to move towards their target, stop accurately, and correct for movement errors when using an iBCI and is exploring how to use it to improve iBCI performance. Towards the second aim, Frank has helped to develop the software, algorithms, and experiments to successfully demonstrate that both hand and arm function can be restored to a participant with spinal cord injury using a combined FES + iBCI system.
Frank graduated with a BA in Psychology from the University of Chicago in 2012, where he worked with Dr. Nicholas Hatsopoulos on brain-computer interfaces. He earned his PhD in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University, working under the supervision of Dr. Bolu Ajiboye, Dr. Robert Kirsch, and Dr. Dawn Taylor. Frank is also actively working with Dr. Dawn Taylor on developing new decoding methods for enabling multi-joint reaching with a combined FES + iBCI system.