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The papers in this session give perspectives from both academia and industry. Clinical studies are presented that span both basic research and commercial applications. Finally, discussion of emerging technologies that combine genetic and optical approaches provide a glimpse into the state of the art in neural interfacing technology.

James Weiland (Doheny Eye Institute, University of Southern California) covers the historical use of electrical stimulation of the nervous system and then focuses on recent clinical development of retinal implants to restore sight. He also gives a brief overview on the emerging field of optogenetics. Eric Leuthardt (Washington University) discusses the use of neural recording devices to extract motor command signals for applications as communication aids and brain machine interfaces for disabled populations. Finally, Rahul Sarpeshkar (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) presents new paradigms of “neuromorphic” processing—how we can learn from the brain’s amazing processing properties and apply that knowledge in next-generation applications like cochlear prostheses.

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