Rethinking the Brain Machine Interface | Polina Anikeeva | TEDxCambridge

The way humans interact with computers has evolved from punch cards, to the keyboard and mouse, to much more sophisticated user interfaces, but the kinds of connections imagined in movies like The Matrix, Avatar or Pacific Rim still seem like science fiction. Polina Anikeeva is working to turn fiction into fact, not to help with virtual reality technology, but to help amputees restore full functionality to prosthetic limbs – not just to control the muscles, but to be able to feel and touch again. To achieve this, you need the precision of a virtuoso pianist to connect neural tissue to the prosthetic limb. The key to this precision is finding the right materials.

Dr. Polina Anikeeva is an assistant professor of Materials Science and Engineering at MIT and a principle investigator of the Bioelectronics group. Her research lies in the field of neuroprosthetics and brain-machine interfaces. Together with her group she explores optoelectronic, fiber-based and magnetic approaches to minimally invasive neural interrogation. Her group was first to demonstrate multifunctional flexible fibers for simultaneous optical stimulation, electrical recording and drug delivery in the brain and spinal cord, as well as magnetic nanomaterials for wireless magnetic deep brain stimulation. Her work at the interface of materials science and neurobiology earned a number of junior faculty awards including NSF CAREER and DARPA Young Faculty Award and was recently featured across popular press. She received her doctoral degree in Materials Science from MIT.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

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Comment (28)

  1. Excellent presentation and "theory" for brain interface, however many caveats, the time line of research to manufacturing actual devices, the primary application seems to be as she mentions toward the end of her presentation- maybe reconnecting brainstem, but primarily use is for prosthesis. Tnere is nothing you can do with interface devices to cure or improve Alzhimers where the ability to transfer signals is completely destroyed – and that could be the largest market for man made technology. We're still 25-30 years out for her theories. BCI research seems to be a phase that needs to be devolped before we can reach her theoretical level. And of course the entire development has to start with rats – another level of delay designing products unrelated to the desired implant potential

  2. Is your experimentation on targeted individuals over yet. What do you think you are. Doing illegal experiments on innocent people. Try these tests on yourself and your buddies.

  3. The MIT media lab is staffed by sociopaths who have no clinical merit but are all manic while ripping off investors. They have zero academic merit.

  4. Minority report. Thought police, yea this sounds great. They cant protect anything with a computer from getting hacked. So this so damn retarted i hope people realize this will be the end of your freedom. Hive mind

  5. I don't know about neuron stimulation but something is being stimulated watching her talk in this skirt. Bout to use my motor neurons that control my hand and start waxing my unit….😍 Downward 🐕…now she is just teasing me…smh

  6. No that's not the reason you can't connect a transistor to your brain it's because you're not supposed to were not designed that way we don't need computers in our head unless it's medically necessary in a wearable device you can take off that's different but nothing actually in your head and make sure everybody has the option you can get it if you want or not design Society both ways so if people don't want to have it they can still get by just fine like everybody else don't design Society where everybody has to get a brain computer interface if you have the ability to make a brain computer interface you have the ability to make Society both ways

  7. Where can I report being targeted by a person who used BCI on me? I do not have a way to prove it but someone can. See my Facebook. Theresa Right Later. I have three boys who their lives were threatened direct brain interface device and mine too if I did not leave MI, divorce my husband and do exactly what they said. I did and lost my family for what a person did to me voice to skull and total human body controlled. I was tortured in pain more than ever imaginable to complete heart stopped at a hospital proven on a monitor as in minded at the same time. I would go to the university to allow you to practice on me if you could help me press charges on them in FISA court. This is reported to you because I don't know where to find someone who can prove this for me. I lost more than anyone would ever agree to in life because of what other people did to me. The united states did not protect me at all. 4 generations of my family targeted starting with my mother Rockford, IL Grace Ann Borcherts my grandma, Vickie Borcherts my mom car accident to coma, Theresa Wright now Slater myself to car accident intensive care to my kids targeted in utero, Justin, Tyler and Kyle Slater of Grand Blanc MI by terrorist. I report this here. Theresa Wright, now Slater Avatar used as a human and I am unable to protect myself from terrorist. Please investigate as the United States has NOT.


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