Rewriting Life

Engineering the Brain: The Panel

Neuroengineering at MIT’s Emerging Technologies Conference.

Sep 26, 2007

Tomorrow at 3 P.M., I’m going to be speaking in a session on engineering the brain at MIT’s Emerging Technologies Conference. We’re going to delve into new technologies that take us the first step along the path toward “engineering the matter mediating the mind”–namely, precise readout and control of neurons and other cells in the brain and peripheral nervous system. I’ll talk about some unpublished work on new technologies for repairing abnormal neural computations. Other participants will include Mark Humayun, who leads a team at USC that designs and builds retinal stimulators for the blind; Robert Kirsch, who works at Case Western Reserve University and builds electrical stimulators capable of precisely controlling limbs; and Timothy Surgenor, CEO of Cyberkinetics, which implants recording arrays into the cortices of paralyzed patients so that they can communicate to the outside world. Should be exciting.