Ying Hao1, Brad Manor, 12, Jing Liu3, Lewis Lipsitz2, Vera Novak2, Xiaoying Wang3, Jing Fang1, 4, Jue Zhang1, 4
1Academy for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies, Peking University, Beijing, China; 2Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, United States; 3Department of Radiology, Peking University First Hospital, Beijing, China; 4Department of Engineering, Peking University, Beijing, China
Foot sole somatosensory feedback is critical to the motor control of standing and walking. To enable study of cortical networks underlying foot sole somatosensation, their relationship to motor control, and mechanisms of neural adaptation that optimize behavior in the presence of sensory impairment, we developed a pneumatic tactile stimulator capable of producing straight-line oscillations with preset frequency, magnitude and surface area over which pressures are applied to the foot sole. Image tests (anatomical/functional/field map) of a phantom demonstrated that the device is compatible with 3T MRI. GRE-EPI images of seven healthy young adults using a typical block-design stimulation protocol revealed significant sensorymotor activation.