AQ: Australian Quarterly
Neural interface devices – Risk and reward where human meets machine
Neural interface devices aim to restore lost neural functions and are emerging at the intersection of brain science, computer science, engineering and medicine. They provide an opportunity for individuals who have suffered some physiological or neurological disease, disorder, or injury to interact with the world around them, with the brain communicating directly with biomechanical machines.
Australian neural interface devices in development include: the Epi-minder, which monitors electrical brain activity and detects epileptic seizure activity in patients; and Saluda, a spinal stimulation implant to relieve long-term pain.
Brain scientists will play a key role in developing such devices and advise regulators to ensure efficacy and safety, along with being active participants in discussions around the ethical implications.