What is neuro technology?
Neurotechnology refers to any technology that provides greater insight into brain or nervous system activity. It could also affect brain and nervous system functionality. Neurotechnology can be used for research purposes, such as brain imaging to gather information about mental illness or sleep patterns. It can also be used in practical applications to influence the brain or nervous system such as in therapeutic or rehabilitative instances.
How neuro technology is being used
According to a post made from IEEE Brain, the following are some of the more well known usages of neuro technology:
- Brain Imaging – Brain imaging maps brain activity by recording magnetic fields produced by electrical activity within the brain. The most well-known type of brain imaging is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is commonly used to identify brain tumours, developmental issues, strokes, and other conditions.
- Neurostimulation – Neurostimulation is a developing technology that stimulates the brain and nervous system in order to influence brain activity. Types of neurostimulation include transcranial magnetic stimulation, which uses magnetic stimulation, transcranial direct current stimulation, which affects the brain through low electrical current, and low field magnetic stimulation, which uses pulsed electromagnetic stimulation.
- Neuro Devices – This emerging technology monitors or regulates brain activity through the use of a neural implant. One example application is the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. This field is still mostly in the research phase, but it holds major potential for treating brain disorders
Current capabilities of neuro technological solutions:
MRIs and other brain imaging technologies have provided researchers with important brain mapping information. These technologies are also used in clinical settings to measure brain activity based on blood flow or electromagnetic current.
Current limitations of neuro technological solutions:
Neuromodulation technology, neuro-prostheses technology, and BMI technology currently only have the capability to gather data over time. There is very limited continuous sensing, with limited means of modifying stimulation to the nervous system as needed based on neurofeedback.
This means neuro technologies are, as yet, unable to perform autonomously and in synthesis with brain signals. Further research and development is needed in order to create a smooth-running closed-loop system that allows the technology to read, write, and modify brain signals simultaneously.
Neuro technology holds incredible potential to improve many aspects of human life, from treating debilitating diseases to improving efficiency, learning potential, and even physical prowess. However, neuro technologies are still a relatively new development, and much is yet unknown about their full capabilities, as well as the ethical, legal, and societal implications they may have for society going forward.