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At first glance, it looks like the aspiring engineers are getting a little younger this summer.

But the students working in the ASPEN LAB, the Advanced Signal Processing in Engineering and Neuroscience Laboratory, aren't Old Dominion University students. Not yet.

Instead, they're high school students, and undergraduates from two other universities, who sought out Dean Krusienski, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering / biomedical engineering, to work internships this summer in the ASPEN LAB.

The high school students are from Ocean Lakes High School, recruited as part of a relationship with the school formed by Ravindra Joshi, Eminent Scholar and professor of electrical and computer engineering in the Batten College. Krusienski responded to the offer of summer internship help, and is integrating the students into his ongoing experiments in the area of brain-computer interfaces (BCIs).

"They're all working on slightly different projects, and will help create an experiment from scratch and conduct it," Krusienski said. "Part of my goal is to interest some of them to study engineering, and at Old Dominion University."

A BCI is a system that allows users to control a device directly using their brain activity. BCIs and related technologies can be used in assistive, rehabilitative, augmentative, diagnostic or therapeutic applications.

The ASPEN LAB research primarily focuses on the development of advanced signal processing and pattern recognition techniques to decode and analyze neural signals for BCIs and other pertinent domains.

Krusienski's background is in electrical engineering, but he became interested in BCIs in his time working on signal processing for neural decoding at the New York State Department of Health. He has been at Old Dominion University for two years.

"I'm interested in finding out if there's some way for people to get back faculties they've lost. Are there ways they can get back something?"

Published on: September 1, 2012