The ISC is part of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and will follow all current policies. Please visit the JHU/APL page for more information on the Lab's visitor guidance.

Neural Interface Research

Neural interfaces provide direct connections between brains and technologies. They can interpret and stimulate neural activity to bypass conventional pathways like speech, keyboards, joysticks, even the eyes and ears, when interacting with computers and machines.

The Challenge

Bypass, enhance, or supplement natural perception and movement

Until recently, all organisms have relied exclusively on their sensory organs to perceive information about the world around them, and their motor systems – their muscles, from forelimbs to vocal chords to interact with their environments and one another. Neural interface research is creating pathways to directly interact with an individual’s perception of the world, intent, and the mental states that mediate the two.

Technology is rapidly getting smarter, we are not. Neural interface research may begin to address this growing impedance mismatch by creating technologies to access and interact with the mind and brain at increasingly exquisite resolutions.

The Objective

Restore function, augment natural abilities, and interface with technology in unprecedented ways

Our neural interface research is focused on impact, from restoring manual dexterity in a clinical setting to maximizing shared, sliding, and scaled autonomy on the battlefield.

Our Approach

Integrated neural interface research

The team works within and across the principal components of neural interface research to:

1

Facilitate Functional Restoration

Restore lost function to clinical populations.

2

Augment natural ability

To interact with physical and virtual world.

3

Integrate biological and artificial intelligence

To control complex systems at the speed of thought.

4

4. Develop new non-surgical neurotechnologies

To access the mind at useful resolutions non-invasively and in wearable form factors using advanced optical imaging techniques.

Outcomes

Inventing the future of interfacing with technology, one result at a time

Beginning with research to restore near-natural motor and sensory capability to amputee and spinal-cord injury patients, the team has integrated research across these thrusts to invent new visual prostheses for the blind, to demonstrate the potential for new neural interface paradigms in shared control, and to develop optical imaging approaches to record neural activity at unprecedented resolutions through the skull.

Most recently, our research has started to identify and demonstrate new modes of perception only possible with neural interfaces, like virtual tactile perception to “feel” objects and information in virtual and augmented reality.