Foundations of Neurotechnology

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Course Syllabus


Lesson 1

Lesson 1.0: Introduction

The Foundations of Neurotechnology course is now available on the NeuroTechEDU Platform. This video is an introduction to the Foundations of Neurotechnology course, and provides a brief overview of what to expect from the content.

Lesson 1.1: Welcome to the World of Neurotechnology

It is time to start our journey into the brain-controlled future! Neurotechnology, which refers to devices that record, stimulate, and work with the brain, is a really complex and broad field. It is already having major impacts on medicine and human-computer interaction. This video is a good primer for the content coming down the road as it provides a broad overview of the field. It answers the questions, what are neurotechnologies and brain-computer interfaces, what are their forms, and how will this technology will affect the future.

Lesson 1.2: Listening to the Symphony in Your Mind

Now that we have learned what neurotechnology is, it is time to learn about the different types and how each of them works. We will do this through the metaphor of going to a symphony... in your brain. Like a symphony, brain processes emerge from collections of neural activity. This video encourages us to imagine ourselves moving to different areas in the concert hall to understand where different technologies interface. Once the concert ends, we talk about underlying neural mechanisms and technology that allow researchers and innovators to interact with the brain.

Lesson 1.3: How is Neurotechnology Used?

The last video taught us about different types of neurotechnology devices such as invasive, semi-invasive, and non-invasive and gave some insight into how they record and stimulate the brain. This video addresses how neurotechnology is used for medical and non-medical applications right now, and how it might advance in the future.

Lesson 2

Lesson 2.1: The Story of Neurotech

This video covers a brief history of the neurotechnology industry. Join us as we explore the story of neurotech. This lesson brings the history of brain-computer interfacing to life through engaging skits and stories. We cover topics and breakthrough discoveries such as discovering that the brain is the center of consciousness and cognition, the discovery of bioelectricity, the creation of technologies that have allowed us to peer into the brain, important experiments conducted in the 20th century, and the start of commercialization and democratization of these technologies.

Lesson 3

Lesson 3.1: Structure and Organization of the Brain

Welcome to Week 3! It is time to get our feet wet with Neuroscience. This video covers some basic anatomy such as the brain’s major divisions (brainstem, cerebellum, cerebrum), the cerebral lobes (frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital), the central and peripheral nervous systems, theories of cognition, and brain orientation terms.

Lesson 3.2: The Neuroscience of Sensation

This video explores sensation in the brain: what organs are involved, sensory pathways, processing centers, and theories of integration. We cover sensory transduction, vision, audition olfaction, gustation, and somatosensation.

Lesson 3.3: Neuroscience - Motor Areas of the Brain

Last video we learned how the brain receives input from the outside world when we learned about sensation. This video shows us how the brain interacts with the world through motor movements. Motor movements underlie so much of our functioning, our speech, the opening and closing of our eyes, and the beating of our hearts. We’ll learn about areas of the brain involved in movement and some of its pathways.

Lesson 4

Lesson 4.1: Neuroscience - The Neuron

For our second lesson on neuroscience, we dive into the brain to understand how it functions. We learn about the structure and function of the neuron, its components and mechanisms, action potentials, and the many glial cells that support it.

Lesson 4.2: Neuroscience - Neural Physiology

This video explains how neurons come together to create the networks that give rise to our thoughts. The totality of our neurons and their connection is called our connectome. Learn how this connectome changes as we learn, and computes information. We will also learn about physiological phenomena of the brain such as synchronicity that gives rise to brain waves.

Lesson 5

Lesson 5.1: Types of Invasive Neurotechnology Devices

Now we are into the nitty-gritty of neurotech! This video covers many types of invasive neurotechnology devices/interfaces for the central and peripheral nervous systems. Invasive neurotech devices are really important as they often provide the greatest accuracy and long-term use applicability. For the peripheral nervous system, we talk about Epineurial and extraneural interfaces, penetrating interfaces, regenerative interfaces, and hybrid interfaces. For the central nervous system, we talk about electrocorticography (ECoG), Microelectrode Arrays (MEAs), and Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS).

Lesson 5.2: Non-invasive Neurotechnology

Getting brain surgery to control a computer or play a video game might not be feasible or desirable (yet). This is where non-invasive neurotech comes into play. This video covers many of the types of non-invasive neurotech and neuroimaging devices including Electroencephalography (EEG), Electromyography (EMG), Electroneurography (ENG), Magnetoencephalography (MEG), functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNRIs), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Positron Emission Tomography (PET), and Computed Tomography (CT). Phew, that was a mouthful. Watch the video, it will make more sense (we promise).

Lesson 6

Lesson 6.1: Neuromodulation and Brain Stimulation

Neuromodulation refers to devices that influence the firing of neurons which can be useful in many medical applications. This video talks about what neuromodulation is, how it affects the functioning of neurons, and the many forms that these devices take on, including DBS, spinal cord stimulation, tDCS, stimulatory ECoG, vagus nerve stimulation, and TMS.

Lesson 6.2: Neurostimulation and Cognitive Enhancement

In the last video, we talked about how brain stimulation, called neuromodulation, can be used to help restore functionality... but what if we could add functionality? Neuroprosthetic and cognitive enhancement devices can help augment our capabilities by enhancing memory, restoring or improving our senses, or, as Elon Musk says, make ourselves smarter by integrating with AI.

Lesson 7

Lesson 7.1: How Brain-Computer Interfaces Work

Want to know how brain-computer interfaces actually work? This video goes over the methods that neurotechnologists use to turn brain data into commands a computer or a machine can understand. We cover data collection, processing, filtering, analysis, how to generate an action in a device, asynchronous BCIs that use population encoding, and synchronous BCIs that use P300, SSVEP, N100, and N400 signals. A little unsure of what all those terms actually mean? No worries! That is what the video is for :)

Lesson 7.2: Applications of Brain-Computer Interfaces

This video covers the many things that brain-computer interfaces can and will be able to do. This includes motor neuroprosthetics like prosthetic arms, exosuits, and vehicle control, computer and machine interfacing use-cases like typing and playing video games, speech and communication applications, neurofeedback meditation and sleep devices, and BCI-driven art.

Lesson 8

Lesson 8.1: Ethics and Neurotechnology in Media - Foundations of Neurotechnology

In this video, Colin goes over how Neurotechnology is perceived in media today. We discuss a few specific films and talk about how the perception of Neurotechnology changes with our media. Finally, we introduce a few interesting terms related to ethics and address some future issues the technology may cause.

Lesson 8.2: Neurophilosophy, Cyborgs, & The Future of Consciousness

What will happen to the mind and our personalities when we start modifying our brains and bodies with technology? What is the mind and how should we think about it? What is a cyborg and what makes them human? Where is the line between these? This video invites us to think about what the future of consciousness might look like. While these may be unanswerable questions right now, we compiled the ideas of some of history's best philosophers and paired them with interesting findings in the field of neurotechnology to help us get closer to answering these questions. The goal of neurophilosophy and ethics should be to cause us to think proactively about the future we want to create and the future we want to avoid when talking about neurotechnology and brain-computer interfaces.

Lesson 9

Brain-Computer Interface Companies, Big Tech, & Business

Want to learn about the companies driving neurotechnology forward? Our newest video examines what companies are throwing their hat into the ring and what they are looking to get out of it. This is our last lesson video of the series :( so we hope you like it!

Course Summary + Resources

Neurotechnology Resources - Thanks for going on a neurotech journey with us!

Our Foundations of Neurotechnology course has come to a close (big sad), but your neurotech journey doesn't have to! Check out this video for some great resources and of course, follow us and subscribe on YouTube for more content in the future.

We really appreciate all of the support from the community and we are so happy to have made this course for all of you! ❤️❤️❤️