Bin He, Ph.D.

AIMBE College of Fellows Class of 2005
For significant contributions to the development and applications of electrophysiological imaging and source localization.

Refined AI Approach Improves Noninvasive BCI Performance

Via Carnegie Mellon University | May 2, 2024

Pursuing a viable alternative to invasive brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) has been a continued research focus of Carnegie Mellon University’s He Lab. In 2019, the group used a noninvasive BCI to successfully demonstrate, for the first time, that a mind-controlled robotic arm had the ability to continuously track and follow a computer cursor. As technology has improved, their AI-powered deep learning approach has become more robust and effective. In new work published in PNAS Nexus, the group demonstrates that humans can control continuous tracking of a moving object all by thinking about it, with unmatched performance.

Noninvasive BCIs bring a host of advantages, in contrast to their invasive counterparts (e.g., Neuralink or Synchron). These include increased safety, cost-effectiveness, and an ability to be used by numerous patients, as well as the general population. However, noninvasive BCIs face challenges because their recordings are less accurate and difficult to interpret… Continue reading.

Advancing dynamic brain imaging with AI

Via Carnegie Mellon University | July 29, 2022

New research from Carnegie Mellon University’s Bin He introduces a novel, AI-based dynamic brain imaging technology alternative which could map out rapidly changing electrical activity in the brain with high speed, high resolution, and low cost.

MRI, electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography have long served as the tools to study brain activity, but new research from Carnegie Mellon University introduces a novel, AI-based dynamic brain imaging technology which could map out rapidly changing electrical activity in the brain with high speed, high resolution, and low cost. The advancement comes on the heels of more than 30 years of research that Bin He has undertaken, focused on ways to improve non-invasive dynamic brain imaging technology.

Brain electrical activity is distributed over the three-dimensional brain and rapidly changes over time. Many efforts have been made to image brain function and dysfunction, and each method bears pros and cons. For example, MRI has commonly been used to study brain activity, but is not fast enough to capture brain dynamics. EEG is a favorable alternative to MRI technology; however, its less-than-optimal spatial resolution has been a major hindrance in its wide utility for imaging… Continue reading.

Breakthrough tech enables seizure localization in minutes

Via Carnegie Mellon University | May 11, 2022

Fresh techniques to aid seizure diagnosis and surgical planning stand to benefit millions of epilepsy patients, but the path to progress has been slow and challenging. New research from Carnegie Mellon University’s Bin He and his team, in partnership with UPMC and Harvard Medical School, introduces a novel network analysis technology that uses minimally invasive resting state electrophysiological recordings to localize seizure onset brain regions and predict seizure outcomes.

Epilepsy affects about 70 million people around the world and more than 3.4 million Americans. Of those affected, roughly a third cannot be treated by drugs alone. For these patients, surgical removal of seizure originating tissues or neuromodulation procedures are potential treatment avenues in order to maintain quality of life… Continue reading.

Finding New Options for Sickle Cell Disease Pain

Via NIH HEAL Initiative | February 23, 2022

One of the hallmark symptoms of sickle cell disease is severe pain that often occurs in intense bouts called crises that can be triggered by dehydration, cold or warm temperatures, or certain foods. These episodes begin in infancy or early childhood and can persist throughout life. A pain crisis can send a person to the hospital for pain medications or blood transfusions, thus children and teens with sickle cell disease often miss school. Young adults with sickle cell disease who want to begin living independently must constantly be aware of their limitations when they go to college or begin a job.

Another novel approach to treating severe pain, including that caused by pain crises, involves technology. Bin He, Ph.D., at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, and his team are also looking for new, non-opioid approaches for treating sickle cell disease pain, but they are at a much earlier stage in the research process. They are studying whether a device that emits highly focused ultrasound waves and targets them at specific brain regions can relieve pain in a mouse model of sickle cell disease… Continue reading.

Focused ultrasound enables precise noninvasive therapy

Via Carnegie Mellon University | May 4, 2021

Carnegie Mellon University’s He Lab in new window is focusing on noninvasive neuroengineering solutions that not only provide diagnostic techniques, but also innovative treatment options. Their latest research has demonstrated that noninvasive neuromodulation via low-intensity ultrasound can have cell-type selectivity in manipulating neurons.

Parkinson’s Disease, epilepsy, and insomnia are just a few of the neurological disorders that use neuromodulation treatment techniques today. Neuromodulation delivers controlled physical energy to the nervous system to treat and improve patients’ quality of life. Current neuromodulation approaches, while effective, bring both drawbacks and limitations… Continue reading.

Noninvasive technology steps ahead to help epilepsy patients

Via Carnegie Mellon University | April 22, 2021

Discovering and developing innovative, noninvasive solutions to advance medical technology and, ultimately, help people, is the driving force behind Bin He’s research. His team’s latest work leverages noninvasive EEG technology along with the development of a novel machine learning algorithm to automatically identify and delineate concurrent high-frequency oscillations and epileptiform spikes, a key link related to epilepsy. In the near future, these findings may be harnessed to rethink imaging and treatment options for epilepsy patients.

More than 70 million people across the globe are affected by epilepsy, one of the most common neurological disorders. For people with epilepsy, brain activity becomes abnormal, causing seizures or unusual behavior, sensations, and sometimes loss of awareness. The incurable condition affects men and women of all ages, races, and ethnic backgrounds… Continue reading.

Meditation for mind-control

Via Carnegie Mellon | September 28, 2020

A brain-computer interface, or BCI, is an apparatus that allows an individual to control a machine or computer directly from their brain. Non-invasive means of control like electroencephalogram (EEG) readings taken through the skull are safe and convenient compared to more risky, invasive methods using a brain implant, but they take longer to learn and users ultimately vary in proficiency.

Bin He, professor and head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering Opens in new window, and collaborators conducted a large-scale human study enrolling subjects in a weekly eight-week course in simple, widely-practiced meditation techniques, to test their effect as a potential training tool for BCI control. The work was published in Cerebral Cortex Opens in new window… Continue reading.

Dynamic source imaging the brain

Via Carnegie Mellon University | April 23, 2020

New functional imaging technology dynamically maps a signal’s source and underlying networks within the brain.

Marking a major milestone on the path to meeting the objectives of the NIH BRAIN initiative, research by Bin He advances high-density electroencephalography (EEG) as the future paradigm for dynamic functional neuroimaging.

The NIH Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative motivates researchers to “produce a revolutionary new dynamic picture of the brain that, for the first time, shows how individual cells and complex neural circuits interact in both time and space.” An ideal technique for functional human brain imaging—one of the initiative’s top priorities—would depict brain activity with high temporal resolution, high spatial resolution, and wide spatial coverage.

He, head of Carnegie Mellon University’s Department of Biomedical Engineering, has made a major leap forward for the field of functional neuroimaging. An NIH-funded study lasting several years and examining dozens of patients with epilepsy has produced a novel source imaging technology that uses high-density EEG recordings to map underlying brain networks. Published in Nature Communications, this research is a big step toward establishing the ability to dynamically image human brain function and dysfunction. This could provide important insight into both where and how underlying information-processing occurs… Continue reading.

“Push-pull” Dynamic in Brain Network is Key to Stopping Seizures

Via Carnegie Mellon University | September 26, 2019

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have discovered that the spreading of seizures through the brain can be suppressed depending on the amount of pressure within the brain, an important discovery that may revolutionize the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy.

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological diseases, affecting people of all ages. There are many seizure disorders, all of which fall under the umbrella of epilepsy. While many seizure disorders can be treated with medication, some patients have strains of epilepsy that are resistant to drugs, meaning that sometimes surgical intervention is necessary. In these patients, tissue can be surgically removed to eliminate or minimize future seizures… Continue reading.

Bin He Honored with IEEE EMBS William J. Morlock Award

Via Carnegie Mellon University | July 31, 2019

BME Department Head Bin He has been honored with the William J. Morlock Award, one of the highest honors bestowed by the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS). EMBS is the world’s largest member-based international society of biomedical engineers, with 11,000+ members residing in 97 countries around the world. The prestigious Morlock Award is given every two years to an individual for his or her original contributions involving important applications of electronics techniques and concepts to solve biomedical problems.

Dr. He received the William J. Morlock Award on July 24, 2019 at the 41st Annual International Conference of IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, held in Berlin, Germany which welcomed about 3000 attendees from more than 63 countries… Continue reading.

First-ever noninvasive mind-controlled robotic arm

Via Carnegie Mellon University | June 20, 2019

A team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon has made a breakthrough in the field of noninvasive robotic device control. Using a noninvasive brain-computer interface, they have developed the first-ever successful mind-controlled robotic arm exhibiting the ability to continuously track and follow a computer cursor.

Being able to noninvasively control robotic devices using only thoughts will have broad applications, in particular benefiting the lives of paralyzed patients and those with movement disorders.

BCIs have been shown to achieve good performance for controlling robotic devices using only the signals sensed from brain implants. When robotic devices can be controlled with high precision, they can be used to complete a variety of daily tasks. Until now, however, BCIs successful in continuously controlling robotic arms have used invasive brain implants. These implants require a substantial amount of medical and surgical expertise to correctly install and operate, not to mention cost and potential risks to subjects. As such, their use has been limited to just a few clinical cases… Continue reading.

Prof. Bin He has been elected as the Chair of the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering

Via Carnegie Mellon University | September 19, 2018

Prof. Bin He has been elected as the Chair of the International Academy of Medical and Biological Engineering, which consists of ~150 individuals in the world who have made significant contributions to the BME field. The academy is affiliated with the International Federation for Medical and Biological Engineering (IFMBE).

Treating the deep brain with ultrasound

Via Carnegie Mellon | March 16, 2018

For nearly 60 years, doctors have been using cardiac pacemakers to treat patients with abnormal heart rates, otherwise known as heart arrhythmias. These pacemakers—which consist of a battery, computerized generator, and multiple electrodes—send electrical pulses to the heart when they detect any kind of abnormal cardiac activity, like when the heart is beating too slow or too fast. In general, cardiac pacemakers help regulate a patient’s heart rate to make sure enough blood is being pumped to their vital organs.

In the early 1990s, more than 30 years after the advent of cardiac pacemakers, doctors began developing similar devices for the brain called deep brain stimulators—more commonly known as brain pacemakers. Deep brain stimulators consist of a generator (which is implanted in the chest) and a pair of electrodes that are implanted in the brain during brain surgery. Much like cardiac pacemakers, which regulate the heart’s electrical activity, deep brain stimulators regulate the electrical activity of the brain. Deep brain stimulators are highly effective because doctors can use them to target and stimulate only the parts of the brain that are malfunctioning. Today, doctors have used these devices to effectively treat Parkinson’s disease and to explore treating several other neurological disorders such as epilepsy and depression… Continue reading.

New BME Dept. Head Bin He arrives on campus

Via Carnegie Mellon University | February 6, 2018

As of February 1, the College of Engineering welcomed new Department Head of Biomedical Engineering Bin He to campus as he began his appointment. Dr. He succeeds Yu-li Wang, the R. Mehrabian Professor of Biomedical Engineering, who has served as Department Head since 2008.

As Department Head of BME, Dr. He is committed to research and education at the convergence of engineering, biology and medicine, aiming to produce future leaders and innovators to address grand challenges in medicine and health through engineering innovation. Dr. He is excited to join the faculty at Carnegie Mellon, and has relocated his lab, the Biomedical Functional Imaging and Neuroengineering Laboratory, to the Carnegie Mellon campus… Continue reading.

University Of Minnesota Research Shows That People Can Control A Robotic Arm With Only Their Minds

Via U. Minnesota | January 9, 2017

Groundbreaking study demonstrates potential to help millions of people with disabilitiesMINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (12/14/2016) — Researchers at the University of Minnesota have made a major breakthrough that allows people to control a robotic arm using only their minds. The research has the potential to help millions of people who are paralyzed or have neurodegenerative diseases.The study is published online today in Scientific Reports, a Nature research journal.

“This is the first time in the world that people can operate a robotic arm to reach and grasp objects in a complex 3D environment using only their thoughts without a brain implant,” said Bin He, a University of Minnesota biomedical engineering professor and lead researcher on the study. “Just by imagining moving their arms, they were able to move the robotic arm.”

The noninvasive technique, called electroencephalography (EEG) based brain-computer interface, records weak electrical activity of the subjects’ brain through a specialized, high-tech EEG cap fitted with 64 electrodes and converts the “thoughts” into action by advanced signal processing and machine learning.

Eight healthy human subjects completed the experimental sessions of the study wearing the EEG cap. Subjects gradually learned to imagine moving their own arms without actually moving them to control a robotic arm in 3D space. They started from learning to control a virtual cursor on computer screen and then learned to control a robotic arm to reach and grasp objects in fixed locations on a table. Eventually, they were able to move the robotic arm to reach and grasp objects in random locations on a table and move objects from the table to a three-layer shelf by only thinking about these movements.

All eight subjects could control a robotic arm to pick up objects in fixed locations with an average success rate above 80 percent and move objects from the table onto the shelf with an average success rate above 70 percent.

“This is exciting as all subjects accomplished the tasks using a completely noninvasive technique. We see a big potential for this research to help people who are paralyzed or have neurodegenerative diseases to become more independent without a need for surgical implants,” He said.

IEM Director wins IEEE EMBS Academic Career Achievement Award

Via U. of Minnesota | April 27, 2015

Dr. Bin He, IEM director, Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Medtronic-Bakken Endowed Chair for Engineering in Medicine, received the prestigious Academic Career Achievement Award from the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS), one of the world’s largest professional societies in bioengineering. This award is given annually to an individual “For outstanding contribution and achievement in the field of Biomedical Engineering as an educator, researcher, developer, or administrator who has had a distinguished career of twenty years or more in the field of biomedical engineering.” Scientific contributions and academic achievements are major criteria for the award, which represents the highest honor for the society to recognize one of its 10,000+ members each year. Past awardees include Bob Langer (MIT; tissue engineering) and Roger Barr (Duke University; bioelectricity), among others. Dr. He was recognized “For significant contributions to neuroengineering research and education.”

University of Minnesota Selected as National Hub by NIH to Accelerate New Inventions to the Market

Via U. Minnesota | March 26, 2015

The University of Minnesota was recently selected by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as one of three sites in the nation to establish a strategic Research and Evaluation Hub (REACH), helping to promote commercialization and technology transfer in life sciences and biomedicine. To develop the hub, NIH will invest $3 million grant with another $3 million in matching U of M funds. The university’s MIN-REACH program will provide commercial expertise and resources needed for the development and commercialization of diagnostics, therapeutics, preventive medicine and medical devices. The program will establish new industry partnerships, strengthen existing partnerships, and provide entrepreneurial, commercial-style education for innovators to accelerate the pace at which innovations reach the marketplace. It will fund between 10-20 research projects each year.

The University’s hub, MIN-REACH, will be led by Dr. Charles Muscoplat (PI), Professor of Food Science and Nutrition. Along with Dr. Muscoplat, multiple members of the Institute for Engineering in Medicine (IEM) are taking lead roles on the project. Dr. Allison Hubel (Co-PI), director of the IEM-affiliated Biopreservation Core Resource (BioCoR), and Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Dr. Bin He (Co-PI), IEM director and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, will jointly lead the medical devices side of the program. Dr. Vadim Gurvich, Associate Professor of Pharmacy and associate director of the Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development, will co-lead, with Dr. Muscoplat, the pharmaceutical side of the program. In addition to the 4 Co-PIs, several IEM members are participating in the MN-REACH grant, including Dr. Kevin Peterson (Co-I), from the Department of Family and Community Health and director of the Center for Excellence in Primary Care, who will provide medical advice.

University of Minnesota Researchers Control Flying Robot with Only the Mind

Via University of Minnesota | June 5, 2013

Researchers in the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering have developed a new noninvasive system that allows people to control a flying robot using only their mind. The study goes far beyond fun and games and has the potential to help people who are paralyzed or have neurodegenerative diseases.

The study was published today in IOP Publishing’s Journal of Neural Engineering. View a University of Minnesota video of the robot in action.

Five subjects (three female and two male) who took part in the study were each able to successfully control the four-blade flying robot, also known as a quadcopter, quickly and accurately for a sustained amount of time.

“Our study shows that for the first time, humans are able to control the flight of flying robots using just their thoughts sensed from a noninvasive skull cap,” said Bin He, lead author of the study and biomedical engineering professor in the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering. “It works as good as invasive techniques used in the past.”

Mind Over Mechanics

Via University of Minnesota | June 4, 2013

It’s a staple of science fiction: people who can control objects with their minds.

At the University of Minnesota, a new technology is turning that fiction into reality.

In the lab of biomedical engineering professor Bin He, several young people have learned to use their thoughts to steer a flying robot around a gym, making it turn, rise, dip, and even sail through a ring.

The technology, pioneered by He, may someday allow people robbed of speech and mobility by neurodegenerative diseases to regain function by controlling artificial limbs, wheelchairs, or other devices. And it’s completely noninvasive: Brain waves (EEG) are picked up by the electrodes of an EEG cap on the scalp, not a chip implanted in the brain.

A report on the technology has been published in the Journal of Neural Engineering.

“My entire career is to push for noninvasive 3-D brain-computer interfaces, or BCI,” says He, a faculty member in the College of Science and Engineering. “[Researchers elsewhere] have used a chip implanted into the brain’s motor cortex to drive movement of a cursor [across a screen] or a robotic arm. But here we have proof that a noninvasive BCI from a scalp EEG can do as well as an invasive chip.”

University of Minnesota Engineering Researchers Discover New Non-Invasive Method for Diagnosing Epilepsy

Via University of Minnesota | August 24, 2012

A team of University of Minnesota biomedical engineers and researchers from Mayo Clinic published a groundbreaking study today that outlines how a new type of non-invasive brain scan taken immediately after a seizure gives additional insight into possible causes and treatments for epilepsy patients. The new findings could specifically benefit millions of people who are unable to control their epilepsy with medication.

The research was published online today in Brain, a leading international journal of neurology.

The study’s findings include:

Important data about brain function can be gathered through non-invasive methods, not only during a seizure, but immediately after a seizure.
The frontal lobe of the brain is most involved in severe seizures.
Seizures in the temporal lobe are most common among adults. The new technique used in the study will help determine the side of the brain where the seizures originate.

“This is the first-ever study where new non-invasive methods were used to study patients after a seizure instead of during a seizure,” said Bin He, a biomedical engineering professor in the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering and senior author of the study. “It’s really a paradigm shift for research in epilepsy.”

University of Minnesota Researchers to be Featured on Big Ten Network’s New ‘Impact the World’ Series

Via University of Minnesota | January 9, 2012

University of Minnesota researchers will be featured in the Big Ten Network’s debut of “Impact the World,” a powerful new original series that highlights the academic side of Big Ten universities. The debut program airs Tuesday, Jan. 10, at 8:30 p.m. CST and features the work of University of Minnesota biomedical engineering professor Bin He and his students in the College of Science and Engineering.

He and his team are pioneering technology that allows immobilized or speechless individuals to control real objects with their minds. No other research group has designed a system that allows a person to move objects on a screen at will through 3-D space using noninvasive technology requiring nothing more than thought.

Milestone in Mind Control

Via University of Minnesota | July 15, 2010

Seated before a computer screen, Elissa Gutterman does what once seemed impossible: She guides a helicopter through virtual 3-D space by the force of her thoughts.

Watching her move the helicopter is fun, but biomedical engineering professor Bin He has a serious purpose in mind. He hopes that someday his work on brain-computer interfaces will give some control over their environment to people who have only their minds with which to communicate. Stroke and paralysis survivors are among the potential beneficiaries.

This is the first time, to He’s knowledge, anyone has demonstrated a system that allows a person to continuously move objects on a screen at will through 3-D space using noninvasive technology. And the system’s noninvasive character means it could have implications far beyond the hospital. It could possibly help people drive or navigate, or it may find a use in entertainment software.