What is Neuroengineering?

Neuroengineering is a relatively recent field which is concerned with the quantitative understanding of neural systems (from single neurons to large-scale neural networks) in order to advance medical technology in applications related to the nervous system. It also relates to using models of neural systems in order to solve problems in other disciplines (e.g., pattern recognition, robotics).

Neuroengineering involves a convergence of knowledge and methodology from diverse disciplines, such as neuroscience, mathematics, engineering, biophysics, computer science, and psychology

Topics under Neuroengineering include:

  • Understanding information transmission and coding in neural systems
  • Neuronal and neural modeling
  • Neuronal and neural signal analysis
  • Neuroimaging (including EEG/MEG, MRI and f-MRI)
  • Sensory input / motor output modeling
  • Prostheses to restore and enhance sensory or motor function
  • Neuro-electronic interfacing
  • Brain stimulation technology
  • Brain-computer interfacing (BCI)
  • Robotic vision, navigation, and behavior

Significant recent contributions of Neuroengineering include:

  • Processing and modeling of neural data (e.g., understanding spatio-temporal neuronal activity; development of epileptic seizure prediction methodologies based on pre-ictal EEG patterns)
  • Multimodal neuroimaging (e.g., EEG/MEG coupled to f-MRI)
  • Devices and procedures for neurosensing, neuromodulation and restoration of function (e.g., artificial retina; deep brain stimulation (DBS) for Parkinson’s disease)
  • BCI for restoration of communication and control (e.g., via classification of motor imagery tasks)

Promising current and future directions of Neuroengineering include:

  • Study of spontaneous behavior and learning capabilities of live neural networks
  • Advanced neuroprostheses (e.g., at the cellular level) for sensing, stimulation and restoration of function (e.g., artificial hippocampus for memory restoration)
  • Live neural tissue prostheses
  • Effective clinical BCI applications (e.g., closed-loop non-invasive DBS)
  • New neuroimaging modalities (e.g., near-infrared spectroscopy for brain hemodynamics studies)

Relevant Journals