Beyond Boundaries

  • by Miguel Nicolelis
  • Narrated by Patrick Egan
  • 14 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary


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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Lame Will Walk

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.
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- Lynn

Great science book, decent reader

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).
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- David Everling "Skipper"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-15-2011
  • Publisher: Random House Audio