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We present experiments and analyses designed to test the idea that firing rates in premotor cortex become optimized during motor preparation, approaching their ideal values over time. We measured the across-trial variability of neural responses in dorsal premotor cortex of three monkeys performing a delayed-reach task. Such variability was initially high,(More)
Recent studies have demonstrated that monkeys and humans can use signals from the brain to guide computer cursors. Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) may one day assist patients suffering from neurological injury or disease, but relatively low system performance remains a major obstacle. In fact, the speed and accuracy with which keys can be selected using(More)
Neural prostheses translate neural activity from the brain into control signals for guiding prosthetic devices, such as computer cursors and robotic limbs, and thus offer individuals with disabilities greater interaction with the world. However, relatively low performance remains a critical barrier to successful clinical translation; current neural(More)
We consider the problem of extracting smooth, low-dimensional neural trajectories that summarize the activity recorded simultaneously from many neurons on individual experimental trials. Beyond the benefit of visualizing the high-dimensional, noisy spiking activity in a compact form, such trajectories can offer insight into the dynamics of the neural(More)
Probabilistic decoding techniques have been used successfully to infer time-evolving physical state, such as arm trajectory or the path of a foraging rat, from neural data. A vital element of such decoders is the trajectory model, expressing knowledge about the statistical regularities of the movements. Unfortunately, trajectory models that both 1)(More)
When a human or animal reaches out to grasp an object, the brain rapidly computes a pattern of muscular contractions that can acquire the target. This computation involves a reference frame transformation because the target's position is initially available only in a visual reference frame, yet the required control signal is a set of commands to the(More)
Some movements that animals and humans make are highly stereotyped, repeated with little variation. The patterns of neural activity associated with repeats of a movement may be highly similar, or the same movement may arise from different patterns of neural activity, if the brain exploits redundancies in the neural projections to muscles. We examined the(More)
Neural prostheses aim to improve the quality of life of severely disabled patients by translating neural activity into control signals for guiding prosthetic devices or computer cursors. We recently demonstrated that plan activity from premotor cortex, which specifies the endpoint of the upcoming arm movement, can be used to swiftly and accurately guide(More)
Neural prosthetic interfaces use neural activity related to the planning and perimovement epochs of arm reaching to afford brain-directed control of external devices. Previous research has primarily centered on accurately decoding movement intention from either plan or perimovement activity, but has assumed that temporal boundaries between these epochs are(More)
Learning, whether motor, sensory or cognitive, requires networks of neurons to generate new activity patterns. As some behaviours are easier to learn than others, we asked if some neural activity patterns are easier to generate than others. Here we investigate whether an existing network constrains the patterns that a subset of its neurons is capable of(More)