Neural Engineering – a discipline within biomedical engineering 

Neural Engineering

Neuroscience is one of the fastest-growing areas of science today. Neural engineering is a discipline within biomedical engineering that uses engineering techniques to understand, repair, replace, or enhance neural systems. It has generated a lot of excitement not only for the development of interfaces between the brain and computers but for its mostly untapped potential to develop a treatment for patients with neurological disorders such as strokes or epilepsy.

The main goal of the Neural Engineering is to solve neuroscience-related problems and to provide rehabilitative solutions for nervous system conditions.

Neural engineers are interested in understanding, interfacing with, and manipulating the nervous system. They are uniquely qualified to solve design problems at the interface of living neural tissue and non-living constructs. The field of neural engineering encompasses experimental, computational, theoretical, clinical, and applied aspects of research areas at the molecular, cellular, and systems levels.

Overview

Neural engineering is an emerging interdisciplinary field of research that uses engineering techniques to investigate the function and manipulate the behavior of the central or peripheral nervous systems. The field of neural engineering draws on the fields of computational neuroscience, experimental neuroscience, clinical neurology, electrical engineering and signal processing of living neural tissue and encompasses elements from robotics, cybernetics, computer engineering, neural tissue engineering, materials science, and nanotechnology.

The main goal of the field is to solve neuroscience-related problems and to provide rehabilitative solutions for nervous system conditions. Prominent goals in the field include restoration and augmentation of human function via direct interactions between the nervous system and artificial devices.

Research in neural engineering has strengths in the development of novel neural technologies such as brain-machine interfaces, neural prostheses, and implantable devices for the treatment of neurological disorders. Much current research is focused on understanding the coding and processing of information in the sensory and motor systems, quantifying how this processing is altered in the pathological state, and how it can be manipulated through interactions with artificial devices including brain-computer interfaces and neuroprosthetics.

Other research concentrates more on an investigation by experimentation, including the use of neural implants connected with external technology. In addition, system-level computational modeling and imaging techniques provide key insights into the function of the nervous system in both health and disease. Neural engineering represents the fusion of neuroscience’s expertise on the brain with engineering approaches to treating neurological disorders, diseases, and injuries.