Available masters and doctoral projects

An overview of opportunities for students to work with scientists at Reykjavik University on research projects. Please contact the person listed within each project for further information.

Undergraduate level projects are on the Icelandic portion of RU's website: Available undergraduate level projects

  • Rubber leg illusion - illustration

“Rubber Leg Illusion” in amputated and non-amputated participants, with EEG

M.Eng level project, School of Science and Engineering

Abstract

Using the rubber hand illusion transferred to the leg, EEG is used to investigate conflicting sensory inputs.  Differences in the EEG frequency maps between amputees and non-amputees may suggest brain plasticity, a contributing factor to phantom limb pain. By comparing the results, improvements to treatment of lower-limb amputees may be made.

Description

This project uses the classic phycology experiment ‘Rubber Hand Illusion'  (RHI) first described by Botvinick & Cohen in 1998, and adapts it for the leg.  This illusion transfers tactile sensations to a rubber limb.  The illusion is induced by brushing the real hand and fake hand synchronously in time, whilst hiding the real arm and asking participants to watch the rubber hand.  The illusion is diminished if the brushing is asynchronous or the real limb is not hidden.  The skin temperature of the real hand drops once the illusion is induced also (Moseley, 2008).

Attempting the illusion in the foot has been attempted before, and the RHI has been attempted in upper limb amputees.  EEG studies have also been completed with the RHI, although as far as we can tell all three have never been combined. 

As well as these factors, spatial mismatching was introduced.  Whilst still stroking simultaneously in time, the stimulation is moved distal to the knee by 5, 10 & 15cm on the rubber leg. The stimulation on the real leg stays at the knee.

The EEG is recorded using the system from ANTNeuro, using a 32-channel cap and amplifier, along with the eego recording software.  The data is processed using ASA, with the frequencies being investigated between illusion present and not, the different positions and as well as the differences between amputees and non-amputees.

Along with the EEG data, self-reported scores, reaction time and percentage of time the illusion is present is looked at.

Goal

The goal of the project is to determine whether there is a difference between the results for amputated and non-amputated participants.  The project is part of a larger collaboration between HR and Össur investigating the phantom limb effect, with a view to improving lower limb prosthesis.  Improving prosthesis enables amputees to perform activities of daily life more easily and gain back quality of life and independence.

Other

Collaboration between HR and Össur

Contact

paolo@ru.is