Functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a non-invasive brain imaging and monitoring modality that measures the changes in oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin concentrations associated with brain activity. Over the past 20 years, there has been exponential growth in the number of publications utilizing fNIRS, demonstrating that the modality can measure cortical brain responses to varied stimuli relevant for investigations of both normal and pathological brain function and development, as well as for clinical applications. To facilitate and accelerate fNIRS adoption and impact, there is a great need for easy-to-use analysis software that can help standardize the analysis, presentation, and comparison and mining of results from across multiple labs, just as SPM did in the early days of fMRI. While there is currently limited availability of standardized tools, there are important advances in analysis software features (motion correction, cleaning of physiological contamination, group-level analysis, anatomically guided image reconstruction) that can be implemented in the next few years and disseminated to this rapidly growing community. In addition, the next big advance that will transform the technology is wearable fNIRS. By dispensing with optical fibers and placing light emitters (LED light sources) and receivers (photodiodes) directly on the head, wearable devices offer lower weight and higher flexibility than traditional fNIRS systems, with recent developments showing performance characteristics just as good as the standard non-portable systems. Wearable fNIRS will not only enable studies of brain activity associated with natural behaviors in natural settings, but it will also dramatically reduce the cost of fNIRS systems, making the technology accessible to a broader array of researchers and permitting scalability from simple to high-density fNIRS systems. Our vision is to create an open software-hardware ecosystem to promote and support the fNIRS community in the adoption and application of cutting-edge acquisition and analysis technology that meets the needs of our interested users. We will implement and disseminate software advances through our Homer software package and shared near infrared file format (SNIRF) facilitating the translation and utility of fNIRS. We also aim to expand the number of fNIRS researchers by broadly disseminating wearable fNIRS instrumentation that is significantly cheaper than current commercial systems and expands measurement capabilities while maintaining typical measurement performance specifications. Utilizing our decades of dissemination experience, we will establish this resource to rapidly grow the dissemination of fNIRS hardware and analysis software to a broader array of users groups. Further, our resource will become self-sustaining beyond the proposed 4 year grant lifetime. This will ensure a powerful impact on a broad range of applications pursued by our users including those studying normal and abnormal brain development, perception and cognition, neurological disorders, brain trauma, stroke, speech disorders, and motor control.

Public Health Relevance

Functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) is a non-invasive brain imaging and monitoring modality that measures the hemodynamic changes associated with brain activity, with applications growing exponentially for studies of normal and abnormal brain development, perception and cognition, neurological disorders, brain trauma, stroke, speech disorders, and motor control. In this project, we propose to create an open software-hardware ecosystem to promote and support the fNIRS community in the adoption and application of cutting-edge acquisition and analysis technology. We will implement and disseminate software advances through our user-friendly software package and will broadly disseminate wearable fNIRS instrumentation that expands measurement capabilities over current commercial systems while improving accessibility by significantly reducing costs.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
Type
Resource-Related Research Projects (R24)
Project #
1R24NS104096-01
Application #
9431782
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZNS1)
Program Officer
Langhals, Nick B
Project Start
2018-01-01
Project End
2021-12-31
Budget Start
2018-01-01
Budget End
2018-12-31
Support Year
1
Fiscal Year
2018
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
Boston University
Department
Engineering (All Types)
Type
Biomed Engr/Col Engr/Engr Sta
DUNS #
049435266
City
Boston
State
MA
Country
United States
Zip Code
02215