Spikenet Technology

Studies carried out at CerCo on how the visual system works have led to the development of image processing and analysis software to model it.

The potential of this software, christened SpikeNet , encouraged three members of CerCo (S. Thorpe, R. VanRullen and A. Delorme) to set up a company, Spikenet Technology, in 1999 to exploit its commercial value.

After a rather hesitant start, the company's future looks radiant today, with 8 employees based in premises in Labège. Two students have obtained their PhDs thanks to CIFRE grants between the company and the laboratory – Rudy Guyonneau in 2006, and Timothée Masquelier in 2008. They are both currently following post-doc training. One of SpikeNet's domains of application is the analysis of the visibility of advertising logos at sports events, a field in which SpikeNet Technology is working closely with the Australian company Repucom. Many other applications are under consideration to draw profit from the most remarkable characteristics of this software, i.e. its speed and its small size.  The efficiency of the approach makes it possible to envisage on-board versions of SpikeNet. But many other fields of application also exist, like counting people, surveillance, analysis of satellite images, indexing of images on the web and archiving. See also "development of assistance apparatus for the blind" below.

Simon Thorpe, simon.thorpe@cerco.ups-tlse.fr
Hung Doduy, hung.doduy@spikenet-technology.com

"Calame on-line" platform

Launched at the initiative of Jean-Luc Nespoulous in the context of his request to be attached to the Institut Universitaire de France (project and nomination accepted in autumn 2005), this platform is destined to become a worldwide scientific and technological tool for the "real-time" characterization and evaluation of writing production difficulties, from the peripheral level (handwriting) to cognitively "deeper" levels. It is aimed at characterizing the spelling, lexical, morphological, syntactic, semantic, textual and/or pragmatic perturbations of written language in various types of subjects suffering from developmental pathologies (dyslexia/dysorthographia), "acquired" pathologies (agraphia / dysorthographia due to cortical lesion) and/or a non-pathological handicap (= illiteracy of socio-cultural origin, of which the impact on society cannot be ignored). A project based on this platform has just been accepted and funded by the French national research agency, ANR, (in cooperation with several other laboratories in and outside Toulouse).

Jean-Luc Nespoulous, nespoulo@univ-tlse2.fr

Development of assistance apparatus for the blind

NAVIG: assistance system for the blind

NAVIG is a multidisciplinary project, with fundamental and applied components, having the objective of increasing the independence of poorly sighted people in an essential and particularly problematic activity: navigation (reaching a destination while avoiding obstacles). The aim is to reach this objective in indoor and outdoor, familiar and unknown environments.

The consortium brings together two IT research centres specializing in interaction and replacement systems for disabled people (IRIT-IHCS disability),  and in auditory perception, spatial cognition, sound design, ergonomics and augmented reality (LIMSI), the Brain and Cognition research centre (CerCo) a laboratory working in Neurosciences of human vision, two small/medium-sized Toulouse businesses working in artificial vision (SpikeNet Technology) and geolocation for pedestrians (NAVOCAP), and a specialized education centre for the visually handicapped (CESDV – IJA Institute for young blind people).

The aim of NAVIG is, through a participative design method, to enable blind and poorly sighted people to move towards a desired destination in a reliable and safer way, without interfering with their usual behaviour for moving around. In addition to help with movement and orientation, the device will enable objects to be located and seized without their having to be pre-equipped with electronic components.

The final aim of the project is to evaluate a demonstration model in the town centre in scenarios that pose problems for poorly sighted people. This evaluation will be made possible by the participation of the IJA and through use of the Toulouse OPEN evaluation platform, which provides the tools necessary for the design and precise evaluation of the device in situ.

[project approved by the world competitiveness cluster  Aerospace Valley and funded by ANR TecSan and APRRTT of the Midi-Pyrenees region].

Contact: Christophe Jouffrais, IRIT, +33 (0)5 61 55 74 09jouffrais@irit.fr

Cochlear implants

Studies on hearing recovery by cochlear implant patients in the domains of language and music perception are being carried out in close cooperation among the Otology department of Purpan Hospital (CHU Toulouse), INSERM U825, and CERCO. The research concerns:
  • evolution of language perception in patients with a cochlear implant on one side and involvement of visual afferences (lip reading) in this perception;
  • involvement of visual-auditory circuits in patients with unilateral and bilateral cochlear implants, studied by PET scan, in order to determine whether speech comprehension strategies differ in cases of uni- and bi-lateral implants;  
  • interest and mechanisms of music perception in cochlear implant subjects; 
  • combined effects of electro-acoustic stimulation in surgery to conserve residual hearing.

    These studies are carried out in partnership with the following companies :

  • MedEl http://www.medel.com/
  • Cochlear  http://www.cochlear.com/
  • Advanced Bionics http://www.bionicear-europe.com
Olivier Deguine, deguine.o@chu-toulouse.fr
Pascal Barone, pascal.barone@cerco.ups-tlse.fr

Analysis of EEG/MEG/MRI data: EEGLAB

Arnaud Delorme (CerCo) played a crucial role in the development of the publicly available software called EEGLAB. This software was originally written by A. Delorme at the Salk Institute in San Diego. He continued its development during his 4-year post-doc training with Scott Makeig, again in San Diego. Today, EEGLAB is being developed under a partnership between the University of San Diego and CerCo. EEGLAB processes electroencephalography (EEG) data by using new statistical and spectral decomposition methods. It allows users to import most EEG and MEG (magnetoencephalography) file formats and to perform all conventional processing. In addition, it can apply the source separation algorithm ICA (independent component analysis), locate active sources in the brain, and analyze the interaction dynamics among these sources. This freely available software http://cerco.ups-tlse.fr/eeglab/ has been downloaded more than 70 000 times, which makes it the most popular free EEG signal processing software.

Contact: Arnaud Delorme, arno@cerco.ups-tlse.fr

Patents and licence contracts

  • Procedure for quantifying the radioactivity of living structures of small dimensions using positron emission tomography. SEGAMI company, European patent n° B51974, inventors: Bonin M, Esquerré JP, Ganter P, Payoux P (UMRS455)

  • Licence contract n° 04102A10 granted to the Neurosys company of Toulouse for the marketing of the neuropsychological evaluation software Earth developed by J. Pastor (URMS 455)

Partners and Cooperation

Coming soon