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Category Archives: Neurotechnology

Stryker (SYK) Receives Media Impact Score of 0.15 – Chaffey Breeze

Posted: June 3, 2017 at 12:34 pm


Chaffey Breeze
Stryker (SYK) Receives Media Impact Score of 0.15
Chaffey Breeze
The Company offers a range of medical technologies, including orthopedic, medical and surgical, and neurotechnology and spine products. The Company's segments include Orthopaedics; MedSurg; Neurotechnology and Spine, and Corporate and Other.
Electron Capital Partners Has Upped Companhia Energetica De Mina (CIG) Position; Shorts at Stryker (SYK) Raised ...Bibeypost.com
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Scientists remotely move a mouse’s whiskers with electrodes outside its brain – The Verge

Posted: June 1, 2017 at 10:43 pm

Scientists can now move a mouses whiskers, ears, and a paw using just electrodes on the outside of the animals head. This new method can stimulate deep parts of the brain without surgery and if it pans out in humans it could be very helpful for people with neurological conditions like Parkinsons, depression, or epilepsy.

The brain has surface regions located near the skull and deep regions further inside, such as the motor cortex, the area of the brain that controls movement. Until now, the only real way to stimulate the regions deeper inside the brain was to cut open the skull and directly implant electrodes. (This is called deep-brain stimulation.) But surgery can be dangerous and the electrodes can cause damage inside the brain. In a study published today in the journal Cell, a team of scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology showed a way to sidestep the dangerous surgery and stimulate the motor cortex from the outside.

To do this, the team took advantage of how neurons process electrical signals. Neurons only activate when they receive low-frequency electricity signals. If high-frequency signals are applied to the brain, the brain just ignores them. It cant keep up, says study co-author Ed Boyden, a cognitive scientist at MIT.

But something interesting happens when you send two high-frequency signals that are just a little bit different, like 3000 hertz and 3001 hertz. Most parts of the brain ignore the signals. But when the two frequencies meet at the target site in this case, the motor cortex and interfere with each other, the neurons pay attention. They interpret the difference in frequency as if it were a low-frequency wave. This technique, called temporal interference, makes it possible to stimulate just one part of the brain and not all the other parts on the way there.

Thats exactly what the team did. After calculating the right frequencies to target the motor cortex, they sent the two frequencies to the mouse brains. In this way, they made the animal wiggle its ears, whiskers, and a paw.

The technique could potentially help humans with certain conditions. In a disease like Parkinsons, for instance, the motor cortex sends and receives abnormal electrical signals. This causes people to have tremors and their muscles to weaken. With traditional deep-brain stimulation, the electrode implanted in the brain blocks these abnormal signals, which helps control the tremors for up to five years. Ideally, says Boyden, with the new technique one day you could stimulate a human brain from the outside for a brief amount of time, and have the effects last for the rest of the day or the rest of the week.

This technique has potential to be an extremely useful tool to both probe and potentially change the functioning of brain regions and brain circuits that are very important to a lot of human illnesses, says Ben Greenberg, associate director of Providence VA Hospitals Center for Neurorestoration and Neurotechnology, who was not involved in the study. But he notes that its simply too soon to say how this stacks against deep-brain stimulation, which has been researched since the 1980s.

There are many questions that need to be answered. We dont know yet how precise this new method can be; for now, we just know its nowhere near as precise as implantable devices. Safety is another concern: early tests showed that this type of stimulation didnt harm the animals, but more research needs to be done, according to Boyden.

And, of course, the big question is how useful this could be in humans. For one, the human skull is thicker than a mouses, which will change the types of frequencies needed. Plus, different people might respond to frequencies differently, says Greenberg. Even in the mice, there were differences in how responsive their cells were.

Boydens team is already doing more safety experiments with animals, and early studies with human volunteers. We want to be as careful as possible, of course, Boyden says, but the good news is that since were building from decades of research on electric fields, so its not like were starting from scratch.

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The tiny cyborg dragonfly drones have taken flight – Mashable

Posted: at 10:43 pm


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The tiny cyborg dragonfly drones have taken flight
Mashable
... smallest drone possible by doing more than just taking inspiration from the animal kingdom Draper's engineers literally outfitted an actual dragonfly with drone tech, putting a suite of next-gen navigation, synthetic biology, and neurotechnology ...

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Somewhat Positive Press Coverage Likely to Impact Stryker (SYK) Stock Price – The Cerbat Gem

Posted: at 10:43 pm


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Somewhat Positive Press Coverage Likely to Impact Stryker (SYK) Stock Price
The Cerbat Gem
The Company offers a range of medical technologies, including orthopedic, medical and surgical, and neurotechnology and spine products. The Company's segments include Orthopaedics; MedSurg; Neurotechnology and Spine, and Corporate and Other.
Stryker (SYK) Reaches $142.64 After 9.00% Up Move, Osmium Partners Increased Travelzoo (TZOO) Position By ...Key Gazette
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Stryker (SYK) Getting Positive News Coverage, Study Shows – Chaffey Breeze

Posted: May 28, 2017 at 7:50 am


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Stryker (SYK) Getting Positive News Coverage, Study Shows
Chaffey Breeze
The Company offers a range of medical technologies, including orthopedic, medical and surgical, and neurotechnology and spine products. The Company's segments include Orthopaedics; MedSurg; Neurotechnology and Spine, and Corporate and Other.
Glg Partners LP Has Decreased By $2.99 Million Its Ppg Inds (PPG) Stake, Stryker (SYK) Shorts Increased By 6.31%Key Gazette
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$20000 ONtrepreneurs Pitch Challenge Winner Announced – Canada NewsWire (press release)

Posted: May 23, 2017 at 10:59 pm

TORONTO, May 17, 2017 /CNW/ -Yesterday Mark Elias (Steadiwear Inc.) was awarded the winner of the Ontario Brain Institute's (OBI) ONtrepreneurs Pitch Challenge held at the Discovery 2017 conference, hosted by the Ontario Centres of Excellence.

Mark Elias was joined on Discovery's main stage at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre by The Honourable Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science and Tom Mikkelsen, President and Scientific Director of OBI, who together presented the award, which includes $20,000 to be used towards business and product development.

"This challenge is a great example of how entrepreneurship can manifest in any sector, including neuroscience. Our government is proud to support the important work of the OBI, and congratulates each competitor as they strive to make Ontario a world leader in brain research and commercialization." Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation and Science.

The five finalists, named below, had three minutes to use their pitching skills to showcase their innovative technologies and impress the panel of judges. The judges included Genevive Lavertu, Senior Director of Medtronic Care Management Services Canada; Jung-Kay Chiu, Partner, Patent Agent, Lawyer, Trade-mark Agent of Norton Rose Fulbright; Alison Fenney, Executive Director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization; and Jonathan Rezek, Business Development Executive for Innovation of IBM Canada.

The finalists are participants from the OBI ONtrepreneurs (Ontario Neurotech Entrepreneurs) Program, a program that supports Ontario's next generation of entrepreneurs in accessing funding to help launch or grow their neurotechnology start-up company. The 12-month program awards $50,000 cash and includes mentorship, training, and a number of value-added opportunities to fuel the entrepreneurial spirit in commercializing neurotechnologies.

The finalists also participated in Discovery's first NeuroTech Ontario Zone, which showcased over 12 companies with leading-edge neurotechnologies ranging from medical devices to help prevent concussions, to sophisticated software that can predict, with high accuracy, cognitive impairment through speech.

"Ontario has a fast growing neurotechnology cluster that is contributing to our economy and the well-being of our citizens. The participants inthis pitch challenge are evidence of the talent and innovation being fostered throughout the province. We are proud to work with OCE, the Ministry of Research, Innovation, and Science and other partners to support the development of entrepreneurs and their neurotechnologies toward collective impact." Dr. Tom Mikkelsen, President and Scientific Director, Ontario Brain Institute.

"This year the ONtrepreneurs Pitch Competition brought some incredible innovations in the neurotechnology sector to the OCE Discovery conference. All of the companies that participated in the NeuroTech Ontario Zone should be proud of their accomplishments as they look to improve the lives of many using emerging and existing technical and computational tools." - Dr. Tom Corr, President and CEO, OCE.

Named Canada's Best Trade Show in 2010, 2011, and 2016, and celebrating 12 years of bold, new ideas, OCE's Discovery is Canada's premier innovation showcase. It brings together the best and brightest minds in industry, academia, investment and government to showcase leading-edge technologies, best practices and research in the areas of energy, fintech, cleantech, the environment, advanced health, digital media, information and communication technologies and advanced manufacturing. The annual conference and showcase attracts more than 3,500 attendees and 500 exhibitors.

For more on Discovery, visit http://www.ocediscovery.com.

ONtrepreneurs Pitch Challenge 2017 Finalists (listed alphabetically by company name):

About the Ontario Brain Institute:

The Ontario Brain Institute is a provincially-funded, not-for-profit research centre seeking to maximize the impact of neuroscience and establish Ontario as a world leader in brain research, commercialization and care. We create convergent partnerships between researchers, clinicians, industry, patients, and their advocates to foster discovery and deliver innovative products and services that improve the lives of those living with brain disorders.

For more info on the ONtrepreneurs Program, visit http://www.braininstitute.ca/ontrepreneurs-ontario-neurotech-entrepreneurs-program

About Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc.

OCE drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario's global competitiveness. In doing this, OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario's industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, investors and governments. A champion of leading-edge technologies, best practices and research, OCE invests in sectors such as advanced health, digital media and information communications, advanced manufacturing and materials, and cleantech including energy, environment and water. OCE is a key partner in delivering Ontario's Innovation Agenda as a member of the province's Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). Funded by the Government of Ontario, the ONE is made up of regional and sector-focused organizations and helps Ontario-based entrepreneurs rapidly grow their company and create jobs.

SOURCE Ontario Brain Institute

For further information: Media Contact: Jordan Antflick, Manager, Knowledge Translation, t: 647.872.1210, jantflick@braininstitute.ca; Andrew Robertson, Manager, Media Relations, t: 416.861.1092 x 1092, andrew.robertson@oce-ontario.org

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FAQ Neurotechnology Innovations Translator

Posted: May 13, 2017 at 5:57 am

What happens at NIT?

This.

Why is NIT called a translator?

NIT is a Translator, focused on the translation of neurotechnology innovations from the lab to patients and the marketplace. We refer to NIT as a Translator, because it is fundamentally different from other types of programs. NIT is not an incubator; not an accelerator; not a venture capital firm; not a contract manufacturing house; not a clinical trialing organization.per se.Instead, NIT brings the best of what each of these other entities has tried to deliver, comprehensively, under one translational Center, borrowing their best attributes, but transforming them into an entity that provides a cocoon for your companys success in todays challenging landscape.

In stark contrast to other models, NIT holds ready investment capital for investment in early and advanced stages of your companys development. NIT focuses on a select number of high-quality, venture-fundable, commercially-oriented companies. NIT sources projects globally, while also having access to a rich pipeline of innovation. And, NIT leverages a robust infrastructure of on-site and nearby resources from already-committed Partners. The result: a comprehensive solution, providing the expertise, resources, and capital to propel your company from concept-to-clinic, and subsequently to commercial success.

What types of companies is NIT seeking?

NIT will develop a select number of high-quality, venture-fundable, commercially-oriented companies focused on neurotechnology innovation. NIT companies will be carefully chosen, funded, and nurtured within the NIT ecosystem only if they: (1) demonstrate a sufficient level of scientific validation and mitigation (or manageability) of technical risks; (2) target a clear unmet clinical need; and (3) carry the force of a market imperative with a well-focused business plan and model that meet private venture capital funding criteria. The mix of NIT companies chosen will include neurotechnology innovations that are both Dare-To-Dream projects, as well as Better, Faster, Cheaper solutions to improve patient care.

How can our innovation be considered for NIT investment?

Wed love to hear from you. Contact us.

Does NIT have dedicated funds?

Yes, NIT has capital ready to fund your company--not just to get your company started, but to propel your company forward in each development and investment stage. Whether seeding your company, leading, or joining an investment syndicate, NIT offers dedicated strategic investment funds, as well as available capital resources from a variety of Partners including Ohio Third Frontier and The Ohio State University. NIT can invest alone or as part of a syndicate to ensure your company is adequately capitalized.

How much does NIT invest?

NIT has no set expectations for funding levels either in a given round, or over the life of a company. The amount of money a prospective NIT Company may receive from NIT is driven by the business needs and specifics of a companys operating plans and objectives. We may invest as little as $250k, or as much as $10M, depending upon the projects specific needs.

We only have an idea for an innovation. Is NIT appropriate for us?

Of course! Whether an idea on a napkin, or a more mature and established neurotechnology company that is further along in the development pathway, NIT is seeking the best innovations in neurotechnology, regardless of stage or origin. NIT could be the perfect ecosystem for taking your idea and translating it from concept-to-clinic.Wed love to hear from you.

We've already been working on our startup for a while. Is NIT appropriate for us?

Yes.Whether NIT is seeding a company, NIT is leading an investment, or NIT is joining an investment syndicate, provided your company can capitalize on the resources and ecosystem that we have to offer, we are interested. NIT has dedicated strategic investment funds, as well as available capital resources from a variety of Partners including Ohio Third Frontier and The Ohio State University for investment in your startup.

We've already taken some funding. Is NIT appropriate for us?

Sure. As mentioned above, whether NIT is seeding a company, NIT is leading an investment, or NIT is joining an investment syndicate, provided your company can capitalize on the resources and ecosystem that we have to offer, we are interested. We can probably help any startup that hasn't already raised an inordinate amount of capital, (e.g. already entering a third investment round from institutional investors). If you are unsure, contact us and we will let you know directly.

Will NIT syndicate alongside other investors and co-invest?

Yes, absolutely. Provided, however, that a company would significantly benefit from NITs resources and ecosystem for its development pathway.

We need investment capital, but already have all the resources we need. Is NIT appropriate for us?

NIT is not a venture capital firm. The capital NIT invests is only a small part of what NIT brings from its ecosystem for company development. If all that your company needs is investment capital, it is likely not a fit for NIT.

Will NIT invest in a company that is not in Ohio?

No. Your company might be able to leave a few employees at home, but the company needs to be headquartered in Ohio to attract NITs resources and investment capital. NIT and Ohio offer so much to companies, that unless your company is located within this ecosystem, it would likely not benefit from all the resources that NIT might bring.

Do we have to start a company in the US for you to invest in us?

No, not necessarily. NIT seeks projects from around the globe. If you've started your company outside the US (or outside of Ohio for that matter), and are interested in relocating to Ohio to tap into the NIT ecosystem, we would love to hear from you.

Do we have to work with your Partners?

No, not necessarily. NITs broad Partner ecosystem is there to help your company. We wouldnt expect your company to need all of themnor would we demand that you have to work with any specific Partner. That said, of course we would want to ensure that your company would sufficiently benefit from NITs resources and ecosystem for its development pathway to make the investment mutually beneficial.

What if we have a conflict with one of the NIT Partners?

NITs Partners are there for your company as needed. As a private entity, NIT is wholly separated. So, NIT can work independently with your company without any exposure to any particular Partner, as necessary.

Does our company need to use NITs facility?

Not necessarily. While NIT offers substantial space, facilities, and onsite resources, NIT Companies can locate anywhere within Ohio that is most conducive to their success.Some may reside initially within the NIT Center itself, some may be established elsewhere within Ohio, depending upon their specific needs and capabilities. Eventually your company will leave the facility in any respect, and matriculate outside and beyond NIT, within Ohio, as you reach your milestones and are funded as a fully independent company.

Will NIT sign an NDA?

No, NIT won't typically sign an NDA. Like a venture capital firm, we review far too many projects to sign NDAs, and believe that most of our exploratory conversations can be held without any exchange of sensitive proprietary information. And, as an experienced entrepreneur, you appreciate the relatively limited value of the idea itself, relative to the long path to execution that lies ahead for your company.

Is NIT hiring?

For a list of available opportunities at NIT or one of NITs Companies, click here.

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Rythm Accelerates Sleep Research and Neurotechnology Efforts With a Prestigious Scientific Advisory Board and … – PR Newswire (press release)

Posted: at 5:57 am

The newly announced scientific board includes David Eagleman, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience, Stanford University, Founder & CSO, BrainCheck, and cofounder & CSO, NeoSensory; Christof Koch, PhD, CSO & President of Allen Institute for Brain Science; Emmanuel Mignot, MD, PhD, Director of Stanford Sleep Center; and Cedric Villani, PhD, winner of the 2010 Fields Medal and Director of Henri Poincarr Institute. These experts will help Rythm define its research strategy, encompassing sleep diagnosis, treatment, improvement, and understanding of the human brain.

The human brain is the most complex organ in the known universe, and understanding the brain and sleep are among the biggest scientific challenges of the century. One-third of the population does not sleep well or sufficiently long. Currently, there are no obvious solutions to this epidemic. However, international research in neuroscience and Rythm are at the forefront of developing non-invasive solutions that are accurate and effective. The company is tackling multiple, ambitious challenges at the nexus of multiple disciplines: medicine, neurosciences, and mathematics. In forming a board, Rythm successfully sought to attract the best-of-the-best from across disciplines who are aligned with the company's mission and vision.

"The brain is the most complex system known today, and within that field of study, sleep is a new domain that presents a variety of complex problems and solutions," said Hugo Mercier, CEO & Co-founder at Rythm. "The diversity of fields, experience, and intellect that the members of our board bring will help Rythm unlock major challenges and pursue the right research directions."

David Eagleman is a professor at Stanford University in the department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, known for his work on brain plasticity, time perception, synesthesia, and neurolaw. He also serves as the Director of the Center for Science and Law. He is a Guggenheim Fellow, a council member in the World Economic Forum, and a popular TED speaker. He has launched two companies from his laboratory: NeoSensory and BrainCheck. He is a New York Times bestselling author published in 31 languages and is the writer and creator of the Emmy-nominated TV series, The Brain with David Eagleman. He is a renowned scientist with articles in all the major academic journals and profiles in national magazines such as the New Yorker. He is a regular commenter on national television and radio.

"We don't yet fully understand why we sleep and dream, but we're aware that it's related to the consolidation of learning and memory," said Eagleman. "I am excited to work with Rythm to better unmask the mysteries and nuances of sleep state, and to be able to leverage that understanding to improve lives. Inadequate sleep prevents people from reaching their full potential. The improvement of sleep opens the hope of functioning at a more optimized mental performance."

Christof Koch is a physicist turned neuroscientist serving as the President and Chief Scientific Officer of the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle. He is leading a team of 300 scientists, engineers and staff engaged in a ten-year project that aims to understand the building blocks of the mammalian brain. Koch previously served as a professor at the California Institute of Technology for nearly 30 years, specializing in the biophysics of the brain and the neural bases of consciousness, and has been influential in arguing that consciousness can be approached using the modern tools of neurobiology. As a member of Rythm's board, Koch will contribute his neuroscientific expertise on how sleep relates to the brain and its electrical behavior in health and disease.

"We have so much more to learn about the relationship that sleep has to the functioning of our brains and our health," said Koch. "Working with Rythm is an opportunity to bring academia together with the development of consumer products so that sleep research can become practicable."

Emmanuel Mignot is the Craig Reynolds Professor of Sleep Medicine at Stanford Medical School and the Director of the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine. He is a recognized authority on sleep research and medicine, known primarily for his work on narcolepsy. He is a member of the National Academies of Sciences and Medicine and has received numerous research grants and honors, including National Institute of Health Research, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and McKnight Neuroscience awards. He is the co-author of more than 200 original scientific publications, and serves on the editorial board of scientific journals in the field of sleep and biology research. He formerly served as the president of the Sleep Research society, chair of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research advisory board of the National institutes of Health, and chair of the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Institute of Mental Health.

"I've always been intrigued by the enigma of sleep and devoted my career to studying sleep disorders," said Mignot. "With the rapid growth of portable technology, biology and analytics, it is an exciting time for sleep, with plenty of opportunities to increase well-being. Rythm is bringing together people spanning multiple fields of science and technology to push forward our understanding of sleep and improve the diagnosis of sleep disorders. I look forward to contributing my knowledge and working with Rythm to help realize this vision."

Cedric Villani is one of the world's most famous mathematicians who was awarded the Fields Medal, the world's most prestigious math award, in 2010. Currently, he is a professor at the University of Lyon and serves as the director of Pierre and Marie Curie University 's Institut Henri Poincar. Villani's work focuses on partial differential equations, Riemannian geometry and mathematical physics. He received the Fields Medal for his work on Landau damping and the Boltzmann equation. He is also a well-known author and speaker, renowned for his passionate ability to make math exciting and accessible.

Villani's expertise on computational mathematics and machine learning will be a valuable asset to Rythm because both areas are critical to the understanding of sleep and the brain. Until recently, machine learning mimicked brain functions, but now the new frontier is to understand how the brain works, and sleep represents an ideal entry door.

This world class team serves as a validation of all the important work Rythm has done since 2014. The company is leveraging advancements in neuroscience, neurotechnology, artificial intelligence, and mathematics to propel sleep research and medicine forward and bring a real sleep solution to the market. This unique solution will introduce a whole new category of product that is efficient but non-invasive, and this demands a strong research effort and the development of sophisticated technology. The board is not only working with Rythm on diagnosis and treatment, but also to help build the product that will launch in Summer 2017.

About Rythm

Rythm is a leading neurotechnology company. Bringing together the world's foremost experts in hardware, software, and neuroscience, Rythm builds consumer technology that stimulates brain function to enhance individual health and performance. The company's first product, Dreem, is sleep solution that uses brain activity and sound stimulation to increase the quality of sleep in a non-invasive way. Based in Paris and San Francisco, Rythm has raised substantial funding from investors, awards and government grants to support a world-class team of more than 70 people. For more information, visit http://www.dreem.com.

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/rythm-accelerates-sleep-research-and-neurotechnology-efforts-with-a-prestigious-scientific-advisory-board-and-advances-in-the-ai-xprize-competition-300456427.html

SOURCE Rythm

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Freedom of the mind under threat with new technology – BioEdge

Posted: May 8, 2017 at 12:03 am

Mind-reading in Minority Report

New human rights laws to prepare for advances in neurotechnology that put the freedom of the mind at risk have been proposed by Swiss researchers in the journalLife Sciences, Society and Policy.

The authors suggest four new human rights need to be defined to protect against exploitation and loss of privacy: the right to cognitive liberty, the right to mental privacy, the right to mental integrity and the right to psychological continuity.

Co-author Marcello Ienca, of the University of Basel, says: "The mind is considered to be the last refuge of personal freedom and self-determination, but advances in neural engineering, brain imaging and neurotechnology put the freedom of the mind at risk. Our proposed laws would give people the right to refuse coercive and invasive neurotechnology, protect the privacy of data collected by neurotechnology, and protect the physical and psychological aspects of the mind from damage by the misuse of neurotechnology."

Advances in neurotechnology, such as sophisticated brain imaging and the development of brain-computer interfaces, have led to these technologies moving away from a clinical setting and into the consumer domain. There is a risk that the technology could be misused and create unprecedented threats to personal freedom.

As neurotechnology improves and becomes commonplace, there is a risk that the technology could be hacked, allowing a third-party to eavesdrop on someone's mind. In the future, a brain-computer interface used to control consumer technology could put the user at risk of physical and psychological damage caused by a third-party attack on the technology. There are also ethical and legal concerns over the protection of data generated by these devices that need to be considered.

International human rights laws make no specific mention of neuroscience, although advances in biomedicine have become intertwined with laws, such as those concerning human genetic data. Similar to the historical trajectory of the genetic revolution, the authors state that the on-going neurorevolution will force a reconceptualization of human rights laws and even the creation of new ones.

Marcello Ienca adds: "Science-fiction can teach us a lot about the potential threat of technology. Neurotechnology featured in famous stories has in some cases already become a reality, while others are inching ever closer, or exist as military and commercial prototypes. We need to be prepared to deal with the impact these technologies will have on our personal freedom."

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Do We Have a Right to Mental Privacy and Cognitive Liberty? – Scientific American (blog)

Posted: May 4, 2017 at 3:27 pm

The idea of the human mind as the ultimate domain of absolute protection from external intrusion has persisted for centuries. In a masque written by John Milton in 1634 a young woman is bounded to an enchanted chair by a debauched man named Comus. Despite being restrained against her will, she claims: Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind, confident of her capacity to protect her mental freedom from any external manipulation. In 1913, historian John Bagnell Bury wrote: A man can never be hindered from thinking whatever he chooses so long as he conceals.

Today, however, this presumption might no longer hold. Cutting-edge neurodevices, such as sophisticated neuroimaging and brain-computer interfaces (BCI), enable to record, decode and modulate the neural correlates of mental processes. Research shows that the combination of neuroimaging technology and artificial intelligence allows to read correlates of mental states including hidden intentions, visual experiences or even dreams with an increasing degree of accuracy and resolution.

While these advances have a great potential for research and medicine, they pose a fundamental ethical, legal and social challenge: determining whether, or under what conditions, it is legitimate to gain access to, or to interfere with another persons neural activity.

This question has particular social relevance since many neurotechnologies have moved away from a solely clinical setting and into the commercial domain, where they are no longer subject to the strict ethical guidelines of clinical research. Today, companies like Google and Verizon use neuroimaging technology and other neuromarketing research services to detect consumer preferences and hidden impressions on their advertisements or products.

Attempts to decode mental information via neuroimaging are also occurring in court case, sometimes in a scientifically questionable way. For example, in 2008, an Indian woman was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment on the basis of a brain scan showing, according to the judge, experiential knowledge about the crime. The potential of neurotechnology as a forensic tool has raised particular attention in relation to lie detection for interrogation purposes. In spite of experts skepticism, commercial companies such as No-Lie-FMRI and Government Works Inc. are marketing the use of FMRI- and EEG-based technology to ascertain truth and falsehood via brain recordings. In parallel, armed forces are testing neuromonitoring techniques to detect deficiencies in a warfighters brain activity and utilizing brain stimulation to increase their alert and attention.

In 2015, the journal Science released a special issue titled The End of Privacy, highlighting how new technological trends from big data to ubiquitous Internet connections, make traditional notions of privacy obsolete. In a sense, neurotechnology can be seen as just another technological trend that might erode our privacy in the digital world and there is little we can do about it. However, given the intimate link between mental privacy and subjectivity we might not be so willing to accept this conclusion. In his famous 1984, George Orwell projected a future where nothing was your own except the few cubic centimeters inside your skull. In fact, when mental information is no longer secluded, nothing is secluded, and the very notion of subjectivitythe quality of existing in someone's mind rather than the external worldbecomes empty.

According to a new article, as neurotechnology disseminates outside the clinical setting, we are facing a societal challenge: determining what rights individuals are entitled to exercise in relation to their mental dimension. According to the authorsmyself from the University of Basel and Roberto Andorno from the University of Zrichthis challenge might require the reconceptualization of existing human rights and even the creation of new neurospecific human rights.

A right to cognitive liberty, widely discussed among neurolawyers, would entitle individuals to make free and competent decisions regarding their use of neurotechnology. A right to mental privacy would protect individuals against the unconsented intrusion by third parties into their brain data as well as against the unauthorized collection of those data. Breaches of privacy at the neural level could be more dangerous than conventional ones because they can bypass the level of conscious reasoning, leaving individuals without protections from having their mind involuntarily read. This risk does not apply only to participants in predatory neuromarketing studies and disproportionate uses of neurotechnology in courts, but to general individuals as well. With the growing availability of Internet-connected consumer-grade brain-computer interfaces, more and more individuals are becoming users of neurodevices.

Last week Facebook unveiled a plan to create brain-computer speech-to-text interface to translate thoughts directly from brain signals to a computer screen, bypassing speech and fingertips. Similar attempts are being made by major mobile communication providers, Samsung in particular. In the future, brain control could replace the keyboard and speech recognition as a primary way to interact with computers.

With interconnected neurotools becoming potentially ubiquitous, novel possibility for misuse will arisecybersecurity breaches included. Computer scientists have already demonstrated the feasibility of hacking attacks aimed at extracting information from BCI-users without authorization. In addition, research shows that connected medical devices are vulnerable to sabotage. Neuroscientists at Oxford University suggest that the same vulnerability affects brain implants, a phenomenon labeled brainjacking. Such possibilities of misuse might urge a reconceptualization of the right to mental integrity. This right, recognized by international law (Article 3 of the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights) as a right to mental health, should not only protect from mental illness but also from illicit and harmful manipulations of peoples neural activity through the misuse of neurotechnology.

Finally, a right to psychological continuity might preserve peoples personal identity and the continuity of their mental life from unconsented external alteration by third parties. Psychological continuity is an important issue in the context of national security, where mandatory personality-changing interventions might be justified in light of greater strategic goals. Brain interventions that reduce the need for sleep are already in use in the military, and its easy to imagine interventions that make soldiers more belligerent or fearless. These possibilities have already raised attention among legislators. Back in 1999 a European Parliament committee called for a global ban of research which seeks to apply knowledge of the chemical, electrical, () or other functioning of the human brain to the development of weapons which might enable any form of manipulation of human beings.

Calibrated normative approaches should guarantee the alignment of neurotechnology development and personal freedoms. At the same time, they should avoid fear-mongering, unrealistic narratives that might harm scientific progress. An open debate involving neuroscientists, legal experts, ethicists and general citizens is required to maximize the benefits of advancing neurotechnology while minimizing unintended risks.

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Do We Have a Right to Mental Privacy and Cognitive Liberty? - Scientific American (blog)

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