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Near-Infrared technology
Functional near-infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) and imaging (NIRI) is a non-invasive, continuous technique at the bedside, which uses light to analyze cerebral tissue. Similar to its fMRI counterpart, NIR technology is applied to study functional hemodynamic changes based on the intrinsic optical absorption of blood. These optical techniques use low levels of light, typically within the wavelength region of 650-950nm, to make spectroscopic optical measurements of absorption changes.  From these signals, we calculate changes in oxy- and deoxy-hemoglobin concentrations in the brain. In this technique, the intensity of light is monitored after it has traversed between sets of source and detector positions placed on the scalp of the head. An array of positions can be used to create spatial maps of the location of brain activation.

Optical Brain Imaging & Neurorehabilitation
At the Biomedical Optics Research Laboratory (BORL), University Hospital Zurich, we focus on the development of new diagnostic tools using NIR light and on the improvement of monitoring systems. Biomedical imaging and diagnostics is moving towards non-invasive, portable and inexpensive methods. BORL successfully invented, developed and clinically applied innovative optical technology to study brain oxygenation, perfusion and function.

Our monitoring approach is to develop a method to assess the functional severity of brain lesions in adults or children patients at the bedside. BORL focuses on investigations in neonatal and preterm infants.

Brain computer interface (BCI)
Our rehabilitative approach is the exploration of the dynamic role of motor-related brain areas in the human brain involved in representations of motor actions and motor learning and associated cognitive functions. The functions attributed to these areas are described by the so-called simulation hypothesis and are thought to be involved in unconscious decision making, recognition, preparation and imagery of motor actions.
We use miniaturized wireless NIRS sensors working towards development of a brain computer interface (BCI), that is aimed to contribute to our understanding of neurological disorders, such as stroke, and associated therapy strategies.

Brain Based Education
Using fNIRS we aim to investigate the use of optical imaging in educational practice in school or university environments. This project is starting and more will be reported soon.

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