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Helping People, Helping Society

Technologies can now be integrated with the human body to give people new sight with artificial retinas and improved hearing with cochlear implants. Those who are paralyzed may soon have new options for mobility with mind-controlled machines and regrown nerves. Numerical models are leading to better insight into how basic principles underlie complex behavior and injuries.

Exploring the Neuro-realm

From flexible electronic "tattoos" and advanced electrodes that tap into brain activity, to new techniques that use laser light to manipulate neural signaling, cutting-edge tools and technologies help us explore the brain. Imaging techniques have been critical in advancing our knowledge, but a number of engineering challenges remain. Technologies may even help the damaged brain rewire itself in conditions such as stroke and Parkinson's disease.

Beyond the Brain

Engineers are translating the brain's abilities into innovative technologies, creating neural networks to manage smart power grids, chips that learn like the brain, and brain-like computers capable of massively parallel calculations. Students can explore what the brain can do through games and other prototypes.

Video: The complexities and promise of brain research

Engineers Ed Boyden, Bin He and Todd Coleman develop new tools to map, control, use and observe the brain's dynamic circuits.

Related Websites:

NSF Understanding the Brain is a place to learn about NSF's cross-foundational activities and advances in brain research, including the BRAIN Initiative.

The NSF BRAIN Initiative YouTube Channel shows exciting discoveries in neuroscience and neuroengineering and engaging researcher interviews. brings together the basics about the brain and how it works along with brain-related news from around the web.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations presented in this material are only those of the presenter grantee/researcher, author, or agency employee; and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.