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Co-Evolution of Human and Machine: Neuroprosthetics in the 21st Century

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1 Author(s)
Sanchez, J.C. ; Depts. of Pediatrics, Neurosci., & Biomed. Eng., Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA

Throughout the history of mankind, tools have served the role as passive extensions of the body. Recently, the development of neuroprosthesis has changed the scope of how humans interact with tools. Neuroprosthetics enable direct interfacing with the brain and have the great potential for restoring communication and control in disabled individuals. The transformative aspect of direct neural interfaces is that they can be designed as 'intelligent tools' that not only carry out intent but also have the capability to assist, evolve, and grow with the user. Unlike other tools, neuroprosthetics exist in a shared space that seamlessly spans the user's internal representation of the world and the physical environment enabling a much deeper human tool symbiosis. Recent advancements in the engineering of neuroprosthetics are providing a blueprint for how new co-adaptive designs change the nature of a user's ability to accomplish tasks that were not possible using conventional methodologies. This paper analyzes how key advances in science and technology supporting the development of intelligent neuroprosthesis and contrasts them with "lessons learned" from the past 50 years in the IEEE.

Published in:

History of Technical Societies, 2009 IEEE Conference on the

Date of Conference:

5-7 Aug. 2009