Engineering brain-computer interfaces: past, present and future

M. A. Hughes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Electricity governs the function of both nervous systems and computers. Whilst ions move in polar fluids to depolarize neuronal membranes, electrons move in the solid-state lattices of microelectronic semiconductors. Joining these two systems together, to create an iono-electric brain-computer interface, is an immense challenge. However, such interfaces offer (and in select clinical contexts have already delivered) a method of overcoming disability caused by neurological or musculoskeletal pathology. To fulfill their theoretical promise, several specific challenges demand consideration. Rate-limiting steps cover a diverse range of disciplines including microelectronics, neuro-informatics, engineering, and materials science. As those who work at the tangible interface between brain and outside world, neurosurgeons are well placed to contribute to, and inform, this cutting edge area of translational research. This article explores the historical background, status quo, and future of brain-computer interfaces; and outlines the challenges to progress and opportunities available to the clinical neurosciences community.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-123
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of neurosurgical sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Engineering
  • Brain-computer interfaces
  • Neurosurgery
  • ARM


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