IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON REHABILITATION ENGINEERING, VOL. 8, NO. 3, SEPTEMBER 2000
Expanding the Scope of the IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON REHABILITATION ENGINEERING to Explicitly Include Neural Engineering Charles J. Robinson, Fellow, IEEE
Abstract—The original scope of this TRANSACTIONS implicitly gave it wide latitude to include all aspects of biologically based Neural Engineering. The TRANSACTIONS now has an additional explicit charter to target Neural Engineering and its links to rehabilitation, from the very basic science to the highly engineered design application. This TRANSACTIONS will become a prime repository for the emerging field of Neural Engineering, without losing its rehabilitation roots.
I. INTRODUCTION HE IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON REHABILITATION ENGINEERING (T-RE) is sponsored by Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS) of the IEEE. After approval by the EMBS Administrative Committee, it was subsequently approved by the IEEE in June 1992, and began publishing in March 1993. The TRANSACTIONS was spun off from the IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING (T-BME) because 1) rehabilitation engineering and rehabilitation science comprised a well-represented part of T-BME and of the EMBS annual conference; 2) no existing journal was serving the field; and 3) such a TRANSACTIONS would be a growth area for EMBS. History has proved these assumptions correct. T-RE is now beginning its ninth year. It is financially healthy. It has a projected editorial page budget of 536 pages for 2000. The enabling document approved by the IEEE in 1992 had a focus paragraph and a scoping list. The focus of the TRANSACTIONS was to be on “rehabilitation engineering aspects of biomedical engineering, covering such topic areas as functional electrical stimulation, characterization of acoustic dynamics, cochlear stimulation, aids for the handicapped (sic), orthotics and prosthetics, myoelectric devices, assistive devices, human performance measurement and analysis, neural interfaces, microelectrode interfaces and sensors, neuromuscular system analysis, nerve stimulation, electromyography, muscular fatigue, myoelectric signal analysis, motor control and simulation, signal processing for rehabilitation applications, transducers for rehabilitation engineering applications, and hardware and software for rehabilitation engineering applications.”
Manuscript received August 21, 2000. The author is with the Center for Rehabilitation Science and Biomedical Engineering, Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, LA 71270 USA (e-mail: c.robin[email protected]
). Publisher Item Identifier S 1063-6528(00)09893-1.
The approved scope was much broader and was presented as an additional list of topics, separated into major groupings. 1) Functional Electrical Stimulation: Quantitative Methods for Electrical Stimulation in Muscle; Implantable Electrodes; Dynamics of Speech Motor Performance, Intelligibility, and Comprehension of Speech Signals; Accelerated and Compressed Speech; Application of Vocal Tract Shape Functions; Tracking of Articulatory Motion,; Cochlear Implants; Speech Processing for Hearing Orthotics. 2) Artificial Intelligence and Information Systems: Computer-Aided Design of Orthotics and Prosthetics; Assistive Devices; Powered Prostheses; Myoelectric Training; Rule-Based Control for FES; Sensory Feedback Control; Myoelectric Control; Functional Neural Stimulation. 3) Assistive Devices: Sensory Aids for the Visually Impaired; Computer Interfaces and the Disabled; Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation; Voice Command Recognition; Wheelchair Control Systems; Communication Aids; Environmental Control Systems. 4) Human Performance Measurement and Analysis: Microprocessor-Based Data Acquisition Systems; Kinematic Measurement Systems; Neuromuscular Functional Analysis; Performance Analysis; Human Motion Analysis; Gait Synthesis; Vehicle Adaptations. 5) Neuromuscular Systems: Muscular Biomechanics, Recruitment and Muscle Characteristics, Active and Passive Muscluar Responses, Electrode Design for FES, Sensor Designs for FES, Electromyography, Muscular Fatigue, Analysis of Motor Control. This list was distilled in an initial Editorial for T-RE  and into a brochure where T-RE was described as “covering such topics as assistive devices and other aids for those with disabilities, sensory augmentation and substitution systems, functional electrical stimulation (for motor control and sensory-neural prostheses), orthotics and prosthetics, myoelectric devices and techniques, transducers (including electrodes), signal processing, hardware, software, robotics, systems approaches, technology assessment, postural stability, gait analysis, biomechanics, biomaterials, control systems (both biological and external), ergonomics, human performance, and functional assessment.” Definitions of Rehabilitation Science,
1063–6528/00$10.00 © 2000 IEEE
IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON REHABILITATION ENGINEERING, VOL. 8, NO. 3, SEPTEMBER 2000
Engineering, Technology, and Medicine were also presented (op. cit.). II. GROWTH OF NEURAL ENGINEERING WITHIN EMBS All of these topics have in one way or another been represented in T-RE over the last eight years. But a majority of the submissions (about 50%) have fallen under the rubric of “Neural Engineering,” which has become an increasingly hot topic of late, as evidenced by the large numbers of papers being submitted to the Neural Engineering tracks at EMBS’ recent 1998 Hong Kong and 1999 Atlanta Annual International Conferences. Neural Engineering is the synergistic and highly interdisciplinary marriage of the neuroscience disciplines and those of engineering and computer science . Our competitor, the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) defines Neural Engineering as “Bioelectricity of nerve cells and muscles; quantitative models of neurons, synapses and neurological disorders; sensory and motor systems, electromagnetic phenomena, biosensors in neural application, neurological control systems, functional electrical stimulation, neural prosthetic and therapeutic devices, auditory, and visual prostheses.” It is important to note here that almost all these topics already fall directly under the current scope of the IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON REHABILITATION ENGINEERING, and that T-RE has already carried many applied and highly theoretical papers in the Neural Engineering field. T-RE’s current scope can deal with neurological and neuromuscular systems in their normal functioning and in their impairment, and with their rehabilitation after impairment. Why then has T-RE explicitly introduced the words “Neural Engineering” into its scope, if its scope already covers the topic? Neural Engineering is a growth field. No current journal exists in the field. As the EMBS and the IEEE, in general, are both striving to maintain leadership in rapidly growing areas, and since many of EMBS members practice in this area, it would seem natural for EMBS to be the first to sponsor a journal that explicitly deals with biologically based Neural Engineering. The applications of Neural Engineering significantly overlap into the Rehabilitation Engineering area. Thus, rather than start a new journal, and significantly degrade the TRANSACTIONS ON REHABILITATION ENGINEERING, the EMBS ADCOM agreed that the scope of the current IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON REHABILITATION ENGINEERING be explicitly expanded to include Neural Engineering. Present and Proposed Scope and Overlap The currently approved scope of T-RE gives it very wide latitude to include biologically based neural engineering in all of its aspects. We wish to make explicit the need to target Neural Engineering and its links to rehabilitation, from the very basic science to the highly engineered design application. Note that the scope still limits the topical areas to those in biomedical engineering. Why Modify the Scope? A major rationale for the change is to provide a forum for papers in the emerging field of Neural Engineering. Coupling this
field to rehabilitation engineering is a natural. Such a journal should become highly citeable. A scope expansion of T-RE to encompass neural engineering and/or its rehabilitation implications would help T-RE to continue to attract the highest quality of submissions. There is another segment of the neuroscience field that is not well served by either T-BME or T-RE, or are these journals necessarily known to this field. These are the researchers who apply innovative technology and complex analytical tools to quantify neural performance, develop models of neural sensorimotor control, and analyze and characterize the performance of neural systems in neurologically intact and neurologically impaired situations. This material appears in Neuroscience, Journal of Neurophysiology, Nature Neuroscience, Science, Neuroscience Methods, and other high-impact journals, but the technical content often must be watered down to satisfy the reviewers. Thus, there currently exist NO proper repository for articles of this type. A properly positioned IEEE TRANSACTIONS will attract these papers de novo, and its impact factor and visibility will rise. The TRANSACTIONS ON REHABILITATION ENGINEERING is in the midst of a change in Editor-in-Chief with the new Editorelect in favor of the scope change. The T-RE Editor-Elect is W. Zev Rymer, M.D., Ph.D., of Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, IL. He is a worldrenowned neuroscientist, a neurologist, and has a background in rehabilitation engineering. The EMBS has a unique opportunity here with a new, renowned Editor coming on board, to really capture a market that neither IEEE or EMBS has pressed for in the past. Neural Engineering was implicitly included in T-RE by the current Editor, and the inclusion was accepted by the T-RE authors. The new Editor has a chance to explicitly include Neural Engineering and its rehabilitative implications as a major focus of the journal. Not all of Rehabilitation Engineering involves Neural Engineering. Thus, the current TRANSACTIONS would stand the risk of losing articles in other areas of rehabilitation engineering, if the rehabilitation side were to be markedly downplayed. The fact is that the EMBS ADCOM broadened the T-RE scope to include Neural Engineering, as the best vehicle to grab a stake in this emerging field, but not to downplay Rehabilitation Engineering. One cannot underestimate the faith that the rehabilitation community has put into this TRANSACTIONS in its growing years. The changed scope for T-RE continues to put rehabilitation first, which is important both internally within IEEE and externally. It explicitly links “Neural” and “Engineering,” but in the subcontext of Rehabilitation. Action Approved by the IEEE in June 2000 The focus, scoping list, and condensed byline scope of the current IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON REHABILITATION ENGINEERING will be expanded to include biologically based Neural Engineering, and that the change will be effective with the 2001 issues. The scoping list will expand to include the following category: “Neural Engineering” (with the following subtopics as focused on neurological and neuromuscular pathologies or
ROBINSON: SCOPE OF THE IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON REHABILITATION ENGINEERING TO EXPLICITLY INCLUDE NEURAL ENGINEERING
impairments, but including studies of normal functioning as needed to understand how functional restoration, substitution, or mimicry can be accomplished): “bioelectricity of nerve cells and muscles quantitative models of neurons, synapses sensory, and motor systems biosensors in neural applications neurological control systems functional electrical stimulation neural prosthetic and therapeutic devices auditory and visual prostheses” The new focus of the TRANSACTIONS will be on “rehabilitation and neural engineering aspects of biomedical engineering, covering such topics areas as functional electrical stimulation, characterization of acoustic dynamics, cochlear stimulation, aids for the handicapped, orthotics and prosthetics, myoelectric devices, assistive devices, human performance measurement and analysis, neural interfaces, microelectrode interfaces and sensors, neuromuscular system analysis, nerve stimulation, electromyography, muscular fatigue, myoelectric signal analysis, motor control and simulation, signal processing for rehabilitation and neural applications, transducers for rehabilitation and neural engineering applications, and hardware and software for rehabilitation and neural engineering applications.” The new condensed scope will be “Rehabilitative and neural aspects of biomedical engineering, including functional electrical stimulation, acoustic dynamics, human performance measurement and analysis, nerve stimulation, electromyography, motor control and stimulation; and hardware and software applications for rehabilitation and neural engineering; and assistive devices.” REFERENCES  C. J. Robinson, “What is rehabilitation engineering?,” IEEE Trans. Rehab. Eng., vol. 1, p. 1, Mar. 1993.  C. J. Robinson, “Neuroscience and technology—An appropriate marriage for rehabilitation applications,” in Proc. Satellite Symp. Neurosci. Technol., Lyon, France, Nov. 2, 1992, pp. 251–253.
Charles J. Robinson (S’68–M’71–SM’82–F’91) received the D.Sc. degree in electrical engineering from Washington University, St Louis, MO, the M.S. degree from Ohio State University, Columbus, in 1971, and the B.S. degree in engineering science from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, OH, in 1969. Since 1974, he has been a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Ohio. He has lectured and written extensively in the fields of rehabilitation engineering, biocontrol, bioinstrumentation, and neurophysiology. He has helped develop a number of formal and informal relationships among national and international bioengineering technical societies. He founded the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, and served as its first Chair. In 1992, he was a Professor in that Department and in the Departments of Electrical Engineering and Orthopaedic Surgery (Rehabilitation Medicine Section). He also had a position as a Biomedical Engineer in the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Service at the Highland Drive VA Hospital. He served on the University of Pittsbugh’s Bioengineering Governance Committee. Prior to moving to the University of Pittsbugh, he was the Associate Director of the VA Rehabilitation R&D Center, Hines, IL, (near Chicago)—one of four such Centers setup nationwide by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. He was a Professor of Neurology at Loyola University’s School of Medicine and a Visiting Lecturer in the Bioengineering Program at the University of Illinois, Chicago. From 1969 to 1974, he was a Member of the Technical Staff at Bell Telephone Laboratories and from 1979 to 1981, he was a Postdoctoral Associate in Anesthesiology at Yale University, New Haven, CT. He is currently the Director of the Center for Biomedical Engineering and Rehabilitation Science (CyBERS), Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, and Senior Rehabilitation Research Career Scientist with the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center, Shreveport, LA. Dr. Robinson is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He has held a number of posts within the IEEE including the Engineering in Medicine ans Biology Society (serving two terms as President), the IEEE Neural Networks Council, the IEEE Membership Development Committee (three terms as Chair), and various major Boards of IEEE (Board of Directors, Technical Activities Board, Regional Activities Board, Publications Board). He is a member of IEEE EMBS, RESNA (the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America), the Society for Neuroscience, the American Paraplegia Society, and the International Functional Electrical Stimulation Society. He is the Founding Editor of the IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON REHABILITATION ENGINEERING. His web page can be found at .