Ceremonial Opening of the “Institute for Machine-Brain Interfacing Technology”

© Sandra Meyndt

Freiburg scientists at IMBIT conduct interdisciplinary research on human-machine interfaces in a new research center.

With an opening ceremony on May 18, 2022, the State of Baden-Württemberg inaugurated the new research center “Institute for Machine-Brain Interfacing Technology” (IMBIT) at the University of Freiburg. Since May 2021, scientists from Freiburg have been working in an interdisciplinary manner at IMBIT on the technical and medical foundations for practically applicable neuronal interfaces for bidirectional interaction between the brain and autonomous robotic systems. The official opening was postponed due to the pandemic. The new building is located on the University’s airfield site at Georges-Köhler-Allee 201.

Pioneering research into the treatment of neurological disease

“Nearly 3,300 square meters of space are now available for cutting-edge interdisciplinary research,” says Gisela Splett, State Secretary at the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Finance. “Experimental areas, laboratories, offices and communication areas as well as an event room offer the best opportunities for scientists from the fields of computer science, robotics, microsystems engineering and medicine for their work in the field of neurotechnological applications.”

Stefan Landerer, Ministerial Director of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts, says, “The interaction between humans and technology is at the heart of IMBIT. Through pioneering research into the treatment of neurological diseases such as stroke or epilepsy, results of great benefit to society are achieved at IMBIT.” In addition, work is being done on practical applications that help patients with brain and nerve diseases that were previously difficult to treat, such as assistance systems that can be controlled purely mentally.

Further development of the Cluster of Excellence BrainLinks-BrainTools

Prof. Dr. Stefan Rensing, Vice-President for Research and Innovation at the University of Freiburg, emphasizes, “IMBIT represents the consistent further development of research in the Cluster of Excellence BrainLinks-BrainTools and strengthens the research profile field of neuroscience and neurotechnology at the University of Freiburg.”

The BrainLinks-BrainTools spokesperson team Prof. Dr. Ilka Diester, neurobiologist at the Faculty of Biology, and Prof. Dr. Thomas Stieglitz from the Department of Microsystems Engineering, say, “Today, knowledge is gained at the interfaces between disciplines, because innovation requires the interplay of complementary knowledge and skills. At IMBIT, members of the Faculty of Biology, the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Engineering are conducting research side by side to develop tools that will help us better understand how the brain works. We want to create interfaces between humans and machines in order to develop better treatment methods.

The State and the University of Freiburg, together with the Federal Government with its supra-regional research funding, have invested around 42.1 million euros in the new building. The new building is supplied with heat via the local heating network of the Medical Center’s combined heat and power plant. The building exterior meet the standard as a passive house and the ventilation system is equipped with a highly efficient heat recovery system.

More information on the University of Freiburg website.