A pioneering neuroscientist shows how the long-sought merger of brains with machines is about to become a paradigm-shifting reality.
Imagine living in a world where people use their computers, drive their cars, and communicate with one another simply by thinking. In this stunning and inspiring work, Duke University neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis shares his revolutionary insights into how the brain creates thought and the human sense of self - and how this might be augmented by machines, so that the entire universe will be within our reach.
Beyond Boundaries draws on Nicolelis's ground-breaking research with monkeys that he taught to control the movements of a robot located halfway around the globe by using brain signals alone. Nicolelis's work with primates has uncovered a new method for capturing brain function - by recording rich neuronal symphonies rather than the activity of single neurons. His lab is now paving the way for a new treatment for Parkinson's, silk-thin exoskeletons to grant mobility to the paralyzed, and breathtaking leaps in space exploration, global communication, manufacturing, and more.
Beyond Boundaries promises to reshape our concept of the technological future, to a world filled with promise and hope.
©2011 Miguel Nicolelis (P)2011 Random House
Miguel Nicolelis, a Duke University neuroscientist, is a leader in brain-machine-interface research. He has produced in “Beyond Boundaries: The New Neuroscience of Connecting Brains with Machines – and How It Will Change Our Lives” a history of neuroscience and a description of the research in the field. In particular, he describes his work with rats and then monkeys which have been able to manipulate robots through the use of their brains – alone. Others have been involved in such research and their work is aptly displayed for the reader and placed into context. This research holds great promise for use with humans particularly having muscular disability. Immediately, I could see the use of this technology with light exoskeletons which would help individuals to walk or use their arms without help. The history of neuroscience may be a little much for those just encountering the field. However, I think that almost anyone can follow Nicolelis’ story and descriptions of his work. This is cutting edge research and Nicolelis allows the uninitiated a window on what is coming to be. The reading is exactly what you have come to expect from Patrick Egan – wonderful.
An awesome book by a brilliant Brazilian neuroscientist.
The narrator has a beautiful voice. It is easy to understand even the most difficult neuroscience terms.
A neuroscience memoir of thought-provoking work, experimental brain interfaces and thought control tests told through the lens of Nicolelis' own academic history and Brazilian based life story.
The book offers specific and compelling evidence for not only controlling robotic systems remotely, but also for how our brain is naturally built to incorporate external apparatus and sense data directly into the body map and further into the sense of self, for brain connected robotics that restore the ability to walk to the paralyzed, for thought-based personal interaction, and even for direct brain to brain connections that create literal brain networks and a higher order of complexity.
Very inspiring concrete experiments to shake some of these formerly sci-fi concepts loose from their intermediate fiction. Indeed the specifics of the experimental methods are sharp enough to be double-edged, disengaging from the overall visionary narrative to bring the reader back down into the due diligence of science and Nicolelis' experience as researcher and academic, which, while important to establish the validity of the book's premise, are less accessible than the grand ideas described in the preceding paragraph. Still, Nicolelis does it right by interspersing anecdotes of Brazilian football matches or personal history to keep the book moving.
With regard to the audiobook Patrick Egan reads the book well for the most part, though I found a few phrasings lacking in what I think was the author's tonal intent, and in particular I often found myself wishing Mr. Egan would quicken his pace somewhat (though the slower reading during the technically dense material was quite appropriate).
Miguel, may be a genius, however, I'll have to actually read this book in paper or digital format. Patrick Egan's narration was painful for me to listen to. Usually I can find some redeeming value in even the most challenging narrator, but in this case I had to stop listening.
No, I love this genre
Dry, over enunciated, and a bit pompous, are a few adjectives I'd use to describe the narration
Couldn't get past the first narrated chapter. I'll let you know after I read the book.
What more can I say?
While the writer's attempts to make a scientific field more personal with humor and anecdotes mostly fell flat or were distracting rather than illuminating, the overall description of the history, theory, as well as the experiments. more than made up for those bad bits of writing. It's not just a book of hopeful speculation, but provides insights into current achievements and practical applications of the theory. Great stuff.
Miguel Nicolelis' describing the implications of BMI's and BMBI's was so eloquent and romantic. I couldn't help myself from yelping in joy while I was listening to his book. I was very moved and I truly hope the future of neuro tech unfolds as Dr. Nicolelis prescribes. Amazing work!!! And Patrick Egan was awesome! A definite must for those who are optimistic about the future of technology and society. As for those cynics, you should listen too! Dr. Nicolelis provides an excellent argument for his stance. Great piece of work!
If you are looking for a pedantic recounting of the history of neuroscience this book is for you. There is far more boring detail than is necessary to communicate the interesting concepts, and there is far too little insightful theory.
"Very, very long.... but great scientific content"
I would absolutely try another book written by Miguel Nicolelis or narrated by Patrick Egan - especaially if Dr. Nicolelis who is a splendind storyteller and has been involved in breathtaking neuroscience research would tune down the drawn out anectdotes and ceaseless soccer-parrallels.
"Beyond Boundaries" have great things in common with neuroscience classics like Pinker's "How The Mind Works" and Damasio's "Descartes' error", mixing vivid case stories with his own scientific thinking.
Egan has a comforting voice, and genuinely sounds like he's telling his own science stories.
Well...hm... there is stuff for several almost sci-fi movies in this non-fiction book. Sure, I'd go see a movie based on it.
The only snag is, that this book is too long. Dr. Nicolelis is doing an admirable job of trying to soften up the difficult scientific content with anecdotes and real-world examples (notably drawn from soccer when trying to explain complex systems dynamics), but he shoots way over the proverbial goal. The book would have been better if edited down by at least 25%. I'm pursuing a phd with strong neuroscience components, and even I couldn't finish it, but had to take it up several times.
"Welcome to the future"
Nicolelis is not a futurist. He is part of the future. I have been following his research since the 90's.
It just incredible to have the opportunity to get into ideas that a scientist's mind is getting while doing cutting edge science. He is not just a hardcore researcher, but also a visionary. He is not just dreaming the future, he is building it.
It is a fascinating topic and there are very engaging parts of the book but overall it becomes bogged down in details making it a little laborious for the ordinary listener.
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