Brain-computer link systems on the brink of breakthrough, study finds

Dec 13, 2007

Systems that directly connect silicon circuits with brains are under intensive development all over the world, and are nearing commercial application in many areas, according to a study just placed online.

Neurobiologist Theodore W. Berger of the University of Southern California chaired the eight-member committee which compiled the "International Assessment of Research and Development in Brain-Computer Interfaces," published in October by the World Technology Evaluation Center, Inc., of Baltimore MD

Berger, who holds the David Packard Chair at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering and is Director of the USC Center for Neural Engineering contributed the introduction and two chapters of the report, which encompassed dozens of research institutes in Europe and Asia.

The other committee members (and chapter authors) included John K. Chapin (SUNY Downstate Medical Center); Greg A. Gerhardt (University of Kentucky); Dennis J. McFarland (Wadsworth Center); José C. Principe (University of Florida); Dawn M. Taylor (Case Western Reserve); and Patrick A. Tresco (University of Utah).

The report contains three overall findings on Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) work worldwide:

-- BCI research is extensive and rapidly growing, as is growth in the interfaces between multiple key scientific areas, including biomedical engineering, neuroscience, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, materials science and nanotechnology, and neurology and neurosurgery.

-- BCI research is rapidly approaching first-generation medical practice—clinical trials of invasive BCI technologies and significant home use of noninvasive, electroencephalography (EEG-based) BCIs. The panel predicts that BCIs soon will markedly influence the medical device industry, and additionally BCI research will rapidly accelerate in non-medical arenas of commerce as well, particularly in the gaming, automotive, and robotics industries.

-- The focus of BCI research throughout the world was decidedly uneven, with invasive BCIs almost exclusively centered in North America, noninvasive BCI systems evolving primarily from European and Asian efforts. BCI research in Asia, and particularly China, is accelerating, with advanced algorithm development for EEG-based systems currently a hallmark of China's BCI program. Future BCI research in China is clearly developing toward invasive BCI systems, so BCI researchers in the US will soon have a strong competitor.

The chapters of the report offer detailed discussion of specific work from around the world, work on Sensor Technology, Biotic-Abiotic Interfaces, BMI/BCI Modeling and Signal Processing, Hardware Implementation, Functional Electrical Stimulation and Rehabilitation Applications of BCIs, Noninvasive Communication Systems, Cognitive and Emotional Neuroprostheses, and BCI issues arising out of research organization-funding, translation-commercialization, and education and training.

With respect to translation and commercialization, the Committee found that BCI research in Europe and Japan was much more tightly tied to industry compared to what is seen in the U.S., with multiple high-level mechanisms for jointly funding academic and industrial partnerships dedicated to BCIs, and mechanisms for translational research that increased the probability of academic prototypes reaching industrial paths for commercialization.

The report is now downloadable online at the WTEC website, at www.wtec.org/bci/BCI-finalrepo… 10Oct2007-lowres.pdf

Source: University of Southern California

Explore further: AMA: Gender inequality still exists in medicine

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Toronto team's robotic arm control is all in the mind

May 17, 2014

This week's attention-getting version of a mind-controlled robotic device comes in the form of an Emotiv EPOC BCI headset controlling a robotic arm with a system smart enough to move the arm using simple ...

Milky Way may bear 100 million life-giving planets

Jun 04, 2014

(Phys.org) —There are some 100 million other places in the Milky Way galaxy that could support complex life, report a group of university astronomers in the journal Challenges. They have developed a new ...

Lions are critically endangered in West Africa

Jan 09, 2014

A report published today concludes that the African lion is facing extinction across the entire West African region. The West African lion once ranged continuously from Senegal to Nigeria, but the new paper ...

Recommended for you

New medical device to make the mines safer

Nov 21, 2014

Dehydration can be a serious health issue for Australia's mining industry, but a new product to be developed with input from Flinders University's Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP) is set to more effectively ...

US family gets $6.75 million in Botox case

Nov 20, 2014

A New York couple who said Botox treatment of their son's cerebral palsy left him with life-threatening complications and sued its manufacturer won a $6.75 million verdict from a federal jury on Thursday.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

enantiomer2000
not rated yet Dec 13, 2007
When can I surf the internet with my brain?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.