José del R. Millán, PhD

Defitech Professor at EPFL

Dr. José del R. Millán joined the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in 2009 as the first professor of the Center for Neuroprosthetics where he holds the Defitech Foundation Chair. He received a PhD in computer science from the Technical University of Catalonia, Barcelona, in 1992. Previously, he was a research scientist at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in Ispra (Italy), a senior researcher at the Idiap Research Institute in Martigny (Switzerland). He has also been a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley, Stanford University, and the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley.

Dr. Millán has made several seminal contributions to the field of brain-computer interfaces (BCI), especially based on electroencephalogram (EEG) signals. Most of his achievements revolve around the design of brain-controlled robots. He puts a strong emphasis on the use of statistical machine learning techniques so as to achieve a seamless coupling between the user and the brain-controlled device. A key element is the design of efficient and robust algorithms for real-time decoding of patterns of brain activity associated to different aspects of voluntary behaviour. He also builds on neuroscience findings to design new interaction protocols to operate complex devices. During the last years he is prioritizing the translation of BCI to end-users suffering from motor disabilities. In parallel, he is designing BCI technology to offer new interaction modalities for able-bodied people.

His research on brain-machine interfaces was nominated finalist of the European Descartes Prize 2001 and he has been named Research Leader 2004 by the journal Scientific American for his work on brain-controlled robots. He is the recipient of the IEEE-SMC Nobert Wiener Award 2011 for his seminal and pioneering contributions to non-invasive brain-machine interfaces.

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