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Brain Power

Junichi Ushiba | TEDxTokyo 2012

Imagine being paralyzed or in a vegetative state, powerless to move or even speak. Keio University researcher Junichi Ushiba may be the one to awaken your muscles and voice, just by getting you to focus your will. His epic labors on what’s called the “Brain-Machine Interface (BCI)” are designed to coax the patient’s brain into fixing itself, communicate with the external world, and even recover kinetic functions using robots and virtual-reality avatars in Second Life. Chatting and shopping in a virtual environment like Second Life, Junichi says, could also motivate patients with severe paralysis too depressed to undergo rehabilitation. The devices he envisions creating from his research and then commercializing are straight out of science fiction. A top ten nominee for the 2010 BCI Research Award, his cross-disciplinary investigations span engineering, technology, neuroscience and medicine, and have inspired intense research all over the globe. In November, Junichi will serve on the jury of the 2012 BCI Research Awards.