March 15, 2011
Imagine living in a world where people use their computers, drive their cars, and communicate with one another simply by thinking. In this stunning and inspiring work, the award-winning neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis shares his revolutionary insights into how the brain creates thought and the human sense of self – and how this might be augmented by machines. It sounds like something out of science fiction but it is real. It is the next frontier in understanding the power of the brain.
Beyond Boundaries is the first book to chronicle the science behind the creation of these brain-machine interfaces, a revolutionary technology that has the capacity to transform human society and shape a new “industry of the brain,” a potential trillion-dollar global enterprise. This is one of the great adventures of contemporary science, and Nicolelis offers a unique front-row seat.
As we observe Nicolelis in his lab, he describes with cinematic precision his experiments training rats to sense the world magnetically, rather than with their whiskers and sensory organs, and his work successfully teaching monkeys to use their brains alone to control the movements of a robotic arm thousands of miles away.
Such brain-machine interfaces, or BMIs, may one day restore mobility to severely paralyzed patients – through the use of membrane-like “exo-skeletons” that patients will wear like suits – and they offer a path to a cure for neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. There are also fascinating implications for deep-sea and deep-space exploration, emergency response, and long-distance communication.
Beyond Boundaries promises to reshape our concept of the technological future to a world filled with promise and hope.
Miguel Nicolelis, M.D., Ph.D., is the Anne W. Deane Professor of Neuroscience at Duke University and the founder of Duke’s Center for Neuroengineering. His award-winning research has been published in Nature, Science, and other leading journals, and Scientific American has named him one of the twenty most influential scientists in the world. A member of the French, Brazilian, and Pontifical Academies of Sciences, he lives in North Carolina.