Neural interfaces

Brain computing refers to the research field which aims to create informatic systems able to interact and simulate the human brain. The objective of brain computing is to develop machines able to learn and adapt just like the human brain, using advanced algorithms and techniques for data elaboration.

Many applications exist for brain computing, one of them is artificial intelligence, robotics and diagnosis, and medical treatments. For example, neural interfaces (Brain-Computer Interface, BCI), can be used to help people with disabilities to control prosthesis dispositives, communicate with others and even control the environment using their thoughts. They are also used within research to better understand the cerebral function and can help treat neurological conditions such as Parkinson and epilepsy.

The brain computing field is still at its beginning and there are several obstacles for the researchers to overcome. These include comprehending the brain’s complex processes, algorithm development and advanced computational techniques, as well a the safety guarantee of ethical use of neural interfaces. However, BCIs have the potential to improve the way we interact with machines, improve the quality of our lives and could make neural-prosthesis revolutionary.

There are several companies active towards developing neural interfaces. Some of them are:

Neuralink: co-founded by Elon Musk, Neuralink is a neuro-technological company which aims to develop implantable BCIs to treat neurological conditions and improve human cognitive abilities;

Blackrock Neurotech: Blackrock Neurotech is a company specialized in neural interfaces implantable for clinical and research application. They have developed a wide range of dispositives, included neural interfaces for people with paralysis;

Kernel: neuroscience company which is developing advanced neural interfaces to help people with neurological problems. They have been working on BCIs both invasive and non-invasive to improve the cerebral functions and treat conditions such as depression and Alzheimer;

CTRL-labs: company focused on developing BCIs that are non invasive to control computers and other dispositives using natural hand gestures. They have been acquired by Facebook in 2019;

Synchron: company that developed an implantable BCI called Stentrode. The Stentrode is implanted in the blood vases of the brain and can be used to control limbs with prosthesis.

There are many other companies involved in the development of such technology, such as Paradromics, G.TEC. NeuroPace, BrainCo, NeuroSky etc.

This shows how the sector is active and fast growing. The developments that were recorded in the past few years and the interest for potential applications in the most diverse fields are hugely growing.

Based on a recent study conducted by Contrive Datum Insights, the global BCI market was valued at 2,79 billion dollars and it is foreseen to be reaching 9,31 billion dollars by 2030, with an annual compound growth rate (CAGR) of 16,26% from 2023 to 2030.

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