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Advances in Brain-Machine Interfaces: Applications and Implications

, Boston, MA

Recent developments in the science of brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) are taking this field to unprecedented heights. Neuroprosthetics can not only be controlled through electrical signals in the brain, but may soon provide sensory information through brain-machine-brain interfaces. Skin-mounted “tattoo electronics” demonstrate the potential for wireless and near seamless monitoring of brain activity and communication between brains and computers.

While these and other developments promise to vastly improve the quality of life of patients ranging from amputees to those suffering from paralysis, should we be concerned about the technology’s other ramifications? How should we consider its use when taken outside of need-based situations? To what extent might it be integrated into our everyday lives, and what should scientists and the public understand about its potential? More broadly, what does the technology suggest about what it means to be human? This symposium discussed the most current research in the field as well as its implications from scientific, technological, ethical, and theological perspectives.


Peyton West
AAAS Center for Science, Policy, and Society Programs


Jennifer Wiseman
AAAS Center for Science, Policy, and Society Programs


  • Miguel Nicolelis
    Anne W. Deane Professor, Duke University Center for Neuroengineering

  • Todd Coleman

    Associate Professor of Bioengineering, University of California, San Diego

  • Nicolas Nova
    Consultant and Researcher, Near Future Laboratory

  • Martha J. Farah
    Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Natural Sciences, University of Pennsylvania

  • Brent Waters
    Professor and Director of the Stead Center for Ethics and Values, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary