IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020 - 50

Standards

by Ricardo Chavarriaga

Standards for
Neurotechnologies
and Brain-Machine
Interfacing

T

he fields of neurotechnologies
and brain-machine interfaces (BMI) are experiencing a
thriving phase. Scientific and technological advances on the means
to measure and decode brain activity are triggering increasing interest
from the general public, industry,
and innovators. This interest gives
way to significant efforts to develop
and evaluate systems in applications
toward both the general public and
those with cognitive or motor disabilities. As a result, some of these
systems are currently being tested
both in clinical applications and
daily life environments; at the same
time, a first generation of commercial products for nonclinical use has
started to enter the market. However, the path for translating the aforementioned advances onto viable
products entail multiple challenges,
both technical and commercial.
Neurotechnology-based systems
combine sensing, processing, and feedback techniques, often implemented
by different developers. As a result,
these systems are often implemented
by integrating several heterogeneous
modules, creating a need for clear
methods to ensure their interoperability. Furthermore, the deployment and
commercialization of BMI-based solutions requires compliance with welldefined criteria for their safety and
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/MSMC.2020.2995438
Date of current version: 15 July 2020

50	

representatives of academia, industry, and clinical sectors gave their
perspectives on the priority fields for
standardization.
Next, Moria Bittmann, health program specialist at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and
Stroke [part of the National Institutes
of Health (NIH)], presented an overview of funding opportunities for
standardization of neurotechnologies
effectiveness. In consequence, approand current pathways for developing
priate standards need to be developed.
both clinical- and technical-driven
For this reason, the Industry Constandards within the Brain Research
nections Group on Neurotechnologies
Through Advancing Innovative Neufor Brain-Machine Interface (https://
rotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative.
standards.ieee.org/industry-connec
She concluded that technology distions/neurotechnologies-for-brainsemination and data sharing are two
machine-interfacing.html), supported
areas that clearly require sufficient
by the IEEE Standards Association,
standard development and communithe IEEE Brain Initiative, and the
ty engagement that can be supported
IEEE Engineering in Medicine and
by NIH BRAIN mechanisms.
Biology Society, aims at identifying
Two specific projects on standardcurrent needs and challenges for stanization were discussed by the next
dardization of neurotechnologies. As
panelists. First, Joel Libove (Furaxa,
part of its work, a panel on standards
Inc.) presented an example of a profor neurotechnology was held at the
spective standardization process reIEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cygarding the recently
bernetics (SMC) 2018
launched IEEE projWorkshop on BMI
ect P2725.1: StanNeurotechnologySystems. The main
dard for Microwave
based systems
goal of the panel was
Structural, Vascular,
to establish a dialog
combine sensor Functional Medion this topic among
cal Imaging Device
ing, processing,
multiple stakeholdSafety. This project
and feedback
ers, including indusfocuses on an emergtechniques, often
try, academia, teching technology that
nologists, and others.
implemented
has a great potential
T he pa nel wa s
for future neuroimby different
chaired by Ricardo
aging applications.
developers.
Chavarriaga, senior
Interestingly, even
resea rcher at the
though the technolZur ich University
ogy is still at an early
of Applied Sciences, and coordinaphase, this project already works on
tor of the IEEE Industry Activities
assessing and standardizing the safegroup on neurotechnologies for BMI.
ty and electromagnetic compatibility
He presented the current activities of
requirements for future clinical and
the group and discussed some of the
brain-computer interface applicaconclusions of a recent survey where
tions. Such early standardization

IEEE SYSTEMS, MAN, & CYBERNETICS MAGAZINE Ju ly 2020 	


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IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - July 2020

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