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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.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
An awesome book by a brilliant Brazilian neuroscientist.
The narrator has a beautiful voice. It is easy to understand even the most difficult neuroscience terms.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Would you try another book written by Miguel Nicolelis or narrated by Patrick Egan?
I would absolutely try another book written by Miguel Nicolelis or narrated by Patrick Egan - especaially if Dr. Nicolelis who is a splendind storyteller and has been involved in breathtaking neuroscience research would tune down the drawn out anectdotes and ceaseless soccer-parrallels.
What other book might you compare Beyond Boundaries to, and why?
"Beyond Boundaries" have great things in common with neuroscience classics like Pinker's "How The Mind Works" and Damasio's "Descartes' error", mixing vivid case stories with his own scientific thinking.
What does Patrick Egan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?
Egan has a comforting voice, and genuinely sounds like he's telling his own science stories.
If this book were a film would you go see it?
Well...hm... there is stuff for several almost sci-fi movies in this non-fiction book. Sure, I'd go see a movie based on it.
Any additional comments?
The only snag is, that this book is too long. Dr. Nicolelis is doing an admirable job of trying to soften up the difficult scientific content with anecdotes and real-world examples (notably drawn from soccer when trying to explain complex systems dynamics), but he shoots way over the proverbial goal. The book would have been better if edited down by at least 25%. I'm pursuing a phd with strong neuroscience components, and even I couldn't finish it, but had to take it up several times.
Nicolelis is not a futurist. He is part of the future. I have been following his research since the 90's.
It just incredible to have the opportunity to get into ideas that a scientist's mind is getting while doing cutting edge science. He is not just a hardcore researcher, but also a visionary. He is not just dreaming the future, he is building it.