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This paper describes the development of a high-density electronic interface to the central nervous system. Silicon micromachined electrode arrays now permit the long-term monitoring of neural activity in vivo as well as the insertion of electronic signals into neural networks at the cellular level. Efforts to understand and engineer the biology of the implant/tissue interface are also underway. These electrode arrays are facilitating significant advances in our understanding of the nervous system, and merged with on-chip circuitry, signal processing, microfluidics, and wireless interfaces, they are forming the basis for a family of neural prostheses for the possible treatment of disorders such as blindness, deafness, paralysis, severe epilepsy, and Parkinson's disease.