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
The report is now downloadable online at the WTEC website, at http://www.wtec.org/bci/BCI-finalreport-10Oct2007-lowres.pdf
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:
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.
A consortium including the National Science Foundation, The United States Army Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Space Biomedical Research Institute, National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, and the Margot Anderson Brain Restoration Foundation commissioned the report.
The World Technology Evaluation Center, Inc. < http://www.wtec.org/> specializes in conducting international technology assessments via expert review, having conducted more than 60 such studies since 1989.
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