Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Little vacation?

So, when JPD told us he was going on a little vacation and stopping off in Germany, I didn't know he meant he was going to accept Germany's top Neuroscience award. A big 'ole congrats, you dog, you! (Lab page, if you're interested.)

(In the above picture, you'll notice that he does know how to use a pre-1997 Mac. :) )


Drew said...

Hate to bring this up, but I have heard rumors that the technology he has developed with his company has not borne out. Could you confirm or deny this? I understand this is a public blog with your name attached to it, so if you feel uncomfortable answering this question I understand.

Brandon King said...

I think that's an important question, and I'm the type that likes to nip rumors in the bud.

I would say that the system is still in development, but we're making big strides every week. The problem is that there's media coverage that seems to imply it works perfectly, with 100% accuracy, and at the speed of light. That isn't true. It is an incredibly complicated project spanning universities, departments, labs, companies, etc. and everyone has their own part. Over the next few years you'll start to see things really falling into place as the parts are assembled into a whole.

As it stands, the cursor control is amazingly good. There is no doubt when you watch a trial that the patient is in control. It is very, very cool to watch. There is plenty of room to improve on control issues, like increase accuracy and speed, but I would say you are looking at the middle of the development of the first truly feasible implantable BCI. It hasn't 'borne out' yet, but it isn't 'completed' yet.

I guess to put it more bluntly, if I were struck by a car tomorrow and locked in, I would sign up for the trial. This is THE system, and THE lab (and I'm very proud that they consider me of the caliber to be a part of it). It would have been an uncomfortable question if I didn't think that ;)

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