Computational Sensory-Motor Systems Laboratory

COVID Control - A Johns Hopkins University Study

COVID Control – A Johns Hopkins University Study is a strategy developed by expert epidemiologists, engineers and physicians from the Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Whiting School of Engineering, and the School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. This project is led by Dr. Frank C. Curriero, Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Director of Spatial Science for Public Health Center at Bloomberg School of Public Health; Professor Ralph Etienne-Cummings, Chairman of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Director of the Computational Sensory-Motor Systems Laboratory; Dr. Robert Stevens, Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine and Neurology and Associate Director of the Precision Medicine Center of Excellence for Neurocritical Care at the School of Medicine. The system development team have been carried out by our own CSMS members,Amparo Guemes, Soumyajit Ray, Khaled Aboumerhi, and John Rattray alongside spatial epidemiologists formed by Timothy Shields, Anton Kvit, Brendan Fries, Anne Corrigan and Dr. Michael R. Desjardins. Please visit

Ralph Etienne-Cummings

Over the past 25 years, Ralph Etienne-Cummings’ research has developed through three main phases. In the early part of his career, he studied biologically inspired sensors and sensory computation systems, primarily in the form of vision sensors. Typically, these systems were implemented with Very Large Scale Integrated (VLSI) technology and were used to extract information about the environment and to guide the “attention” of other computation systems. In the middle part of his career, he studied how these systems can be hosted onto robots. At that point he also started to model spinal neural circuits in silicon, and develop robots to study legged locomotion. Both VLSI circuits and biomorphic robots were developed and used in these studies. More recently, he has evolved this work to include brain-machine interfaces and neural prosthesis devices. Specifically, he started looking at spinal and cortical prosthesis devices and robotic systems to restore function after injury and for human augmentation. This area has required close collaboration with neuroscientists to gain access to animal models (i.e. lamprey, cat, ferret and monkey preparations).

His recent work has included various experiments to understand neurophysiology of spinal and cortical neural circuits, to interface with them, to decode their sensory-motor relationships, and to use these relationships to control biomorphic robots. He has also worked on encoding somatosensory feedback to the cortex of non-human primates. He has made significant contributions in the following areas:

  1. VLSI implementation of large scale neural systems for sensory information processing;
  2. Development of neurally inspired control systems for legged robots;
  3. Development of neural prosthetic devices for lower and upper limbs;
  4. Development of compressive recording and functional stimulation of in vivo neural systems;
  5. Image and video analysis for activity recognition and control.

His work has the potential to produce computers that can perform recognition tasks as effortlessly living organism, legged robots that are as efficient and elegant as humans and prosthetics than can seamlessly interface with the human body to restore functionality after injury or to overcome disease. Lastly, we have also been working on developing miniaturized ultrasound phased arrays, developing interstitial high intensity ultrasound ablation and monitoring system, and most recently we focused on developing ultrasonically “smart” tools.