Neurotechnology is quickly advancing, merging tech with our nervous system. It aims to boost our health, treat brain-related issues, and even improve how we think.1 By 2026, the market for these products will reach $17.1 billion. This growth is powered by developments in areas like neural prosthetics, neuromodulation, neurorehabilitation, and neurosensing.1 Important research focuses on brain-computer interfaces, optogenetics, and neural tissue engineering. Yet, to make neurotechnology reach its full potential, we must tackle issues such as funding, rules, and getting these products to patients.

Key Takeaways

  • Neurotechnology is a rapidly growing field with a projected market growth from $9.8 billion in 2022 to $17.1 billion by 2026.
  • Key areas of focus include brain-computer interfaces, optogenetics, and neural tissue engineering.
  • Neurotechnology holds immense promise for treating neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders, as well as enhancing human capabilities.
  • Overcoming funding, regulatory, and market access challenges is crucial for realizing the full potential of neurotechnology.
  • Neurotechnology is driving advancements in neural prosthetics, neuromodulation, neurorehabilitation, and neurosensing.

Neurotechnology: A Revolutionary Field

Neurotechnology is any tech that helps the nervous system work better. It covers many devices and tools. These can heal, boost, or check conditions related to the brain, spinal cord, and nerves.2

Definition and Scope of Neurotechnology

It involves technologies that work with our nervous system. This could be through devices that record or boost brain activity, or even replacements for lost functions.3 These tools have improved quickly thanks to progress in materials, microelectronics, and computational neuroscience.2

Impact on Healthcare and Quality of Life

Neurotechnology has made a big difference in healthcare and life quality.3 Important inventions like Deep Brain Stimulation and Brain-Computer Interfaces have changed how we treat brain and nerve issues. They give back lost functions and make life much better for patients.2

Techniques like fMRI, EEG, and MEG are key for spotting and keeping track of brain issues. Treatments such as TMS and neurofeedback are starting to help with mental health.3 In the future, we might see more personalized therapies and even better brain-machine interfaces for mental health care.3

Scientists, engineers, and doctors need to work together to push neurotechnology further. They should make sure the benefits of their work reach everyone who needs it. They can really boost the quality of life for many.2

The Human Nervous System: An Overview

The human nervous system is a vital network that controls many body functions. It helps with thinking, feeling, and moving. This system includes the brain and spinal cord, known as the central nervous system (CNS). It also has nerves that spread all over the body, called the peripheral nervous system (PNS).4

Neurons and Neural Networks

Neurons are the basic units of the nervous system. They pass on electrical signals. These neurons join up to form complex networks. They ‘talk’ to each other at points called synapses. The human brain has around 86 billion neurons, creating a huge network for processing information.4

Functional Organization of Neural Systems

The nervous system is separated into different sections that do specific jobs. The CNS works on thinking, deciding, and controlling movement. The PNS sends and receives messages and manages things our bodies do without us thinking. This division helps the nervous system react quickly and effectively to what happens around us.4

Neural-Based Diseases and Disorders

If the nervous system doesn’t work right, many health issues can occur. This can include diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and issues like stroke, epilepsy, and depression. Dealing with these conditions is tough for both patients and those trying to help them.456

Neurotechnology: Technical Aspects and Examples

Neurotechnology includes many advances to work with the nervous system. It ranges from devices for neural interfaces and neural prosthetics, to methods for neural tissue engineering. These aim to either repair or regenerate nerve tissues.7

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a major part of neurotechnology. It helps people with essential tremor by stopping the disease’s progress for more than 6 years after surgery. In Parkinson’s Disease, DBS lowers symptoms like slowed movement, stiffness, and trouble walking.7

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) gives hope to those with depression. It has been effective in lifting up mood for some patients.7 Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) can reduce acting too quickly in people with ADHD. It can also temporarily change behavior, making learning faster, and improving how people do certain tasks.7

The focused ultrasound (FUS) is a newer, hospital-friendly treatment. It’s been approved by the FDA and is becoming more popular due to being non-invasive and without the use of harmful radiation. Right now, it’s mainly used for essential tremor.7

Brain-computer interfaces (BCI) help by taking brain signals and using them to control devices. They’re often used to help restore proper nerve and muscle function.7

Among the newer methods is neural tissue engineering that includes special types of electronic medicine. One kind can disappear within a day or two but helps to regrow nerves.4 Optogenetics is another example. It uses light to stimulate nerve cells, but it’s still in the research phase for human use.8

The study of neurotechnology is always growing. It includes many tools to work with the brain and nervous system. They are designed to help with a wide range of brain and nerve-related issues.748

Classifying Current Neural Technologies

Neurotechnology falls into four main groups: neuroprosthetics, neuromodulation, neurorehabilitation, and neurosensing. They work to diagnose, treat, or even improve the nervous system’s function. This can completely change the lives of those dealing with brain and behavior issues.


Neuroprosthetics are devices that help replace or fix problems with our senses, movements, or thinking. This includes things like cochlear implants, retinal implants, and BCIs. They make it possible for people with disabilities to talk, move, and live on their own.4


Neuromodulation uses electrical or magnetic zaps to change how the brain works. It’s used to treat brain and behavior issues. For example, DBS for Parkinson’s, spinal cord stimulation for pain, and TMS for depression.4


Neurorehabilitation aims to help the brain recover, adapt, or find new ways when there are problems. It includes things like robotic exoskeletons, virtual reality therapies, and brain-computer interfaces. These help people to move better and recover from strokes.4


Neurosensing is about watching and studying the brain’s activities. This helps with better diagnoses, check-ups, and treatments for brain and behavior issues. The tools used include EEG, fNIRS, and tiny sensors that get put in the brain for ongoing study.9

This tech field is growing fast and offering new ways to tackle health issues and boost what we can do. Each type of technology faces its own challenges and has the power to change lives for the better.10

neurotechnology categories

The Neurotechnology Development Landscape

The field of neurotechnology is full of new ideas thanks to materials science and others.10 Many groups, from small start-ups to large companies, are working on new ways to help with brain-related issues.

Innovation Pipeline

Small, new companies are making exciting advances in neurotechnology. They’re creating devices and apps that might change the way we help those with brain and mental health problems.3 Some cool ideas include brain-machine interfaces and advanced neuroprosthetics. Companies like Kernel and Neuralink are working on these projects.

Regulatory and Access Pathways

Making new brain tech available to people is tough. Companies need to meet rules set by groups like the U.S. FDA. These rules make sure the devices and treatments are safe and work well.3 The goal is to get new tech to patients who can benefit from it with less delay.

Getting insurance to cover these new brain technologies is also important. This step helps more people get the care they need. Working together is key. Industries, doctors, and government leaders must find ways to make these new options more available.

Funding and Investment in Neurotechnology

In the last few years, both the public and private sectors have put a lot of money into neurotechnology funding and neurotechnology investment. Organizations like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are key players, backing essential neurotechnology research funding and the making of new neurotech.10

In 2021, the BrightFocus Foundation gave out $25.3 million in funding, supporting over 260 projects. This push represents a $65 million investment in global research.10 It’s noted that philanthropy is crucial in bridging the funding gaps for research that changes lab work into actual healthcare tools and cures in the neurotechnology space.10

A study, backed by the BrightFocus Foundation and guided by experts, looks at how we can use and improve neurotechnology. It points out that while a lot of early money has gone into neuro research and engineering, many great ideas and devices remain underexploited and hard to access for patients.10
The study underscores how important donations are in pushing neurotechnology forward. They help turn concepts into market-ready solutions, deal with funding shortages, and get past regulatory obstacles.10

This year, the BRAIN Initiative got $402 million to spend, down $278 million from the year before.11 The money shrink is linked to less from the 21st Century Cures Act and smaller handouts to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).11 The Cures Act helps programs like the BRAIN Initiative with funds that change year by year through 2026.11

The neurotechnology sector has been swiftly growing, with a 40% rise since 2013 and a 60% jump since 2019.12 America leads in investments for NeuroTech, averaging $58 million per fund, while Europe closely follows. They notch about $41 million each time.12
Asian companies in NeuroTech get less, about $8 million per fund. This may be because they are relatively newer to the scene than their Western peers.12

Annual growth in neurotechnology fundraisings since 201340%
Increase in neurotechnology fundraisings since 201960%
Average neurotechnology funding round in the United States$58 million
Average neurotechnology funding round in Europe$41 million
Average neurotechnology funding round in Asia$8 million

About half of the total money in NeuroTech now goes to the more advanced projects (Series B or later).12 Some big investments include MindMaze earning $125 million in their latest funding round, Synchron with $75 million, and Kernel getting $53 million.12

The Role of Philanthropy in Neurotechnology

Philanthropic groups and donors are key in moving neurotechnology forward.10 They provide money focused on research, filling the gap between idea and product.10

Developing Fundamental Understanding of Neural Circuits

Philanthropy helps push forward our understanding of neural circuits.10 It backs basic research and looks into new areas of neuroscience. This work sets the stage for tech advances.

Supporting Early-Stage Human Trials

Money from philanthropy aids in early human trials for new tech.10 It moves lab discoveries closer to helping people for real. This support is crucial in tech’s early phases.

Promoting Noninvasive and Less Invasive Technologies

Phila”Antropy’ focuses on making tech that’s easier on patients.10 It supports making treatments that are safer and more comfortable. Their work pushes for easy-to-use treatments.

philanthropy neurotechnology

Creating an Ecosystem of Navigational Support

Building a complete neurotechnology ecosystem is key for neurotechnology solutions to succeed in the market. It includes many different groups like researchers, doctors, and patient support organizations. This mix helps ideas move from research to finished products.10

The help from this system is crucial, as it joins the first research steps with later development. A big part of this mix is funds from the government and specific support from private investors. They help fill what’s called the “Valley of Death” in development.10

The Milken Institute acts as a bridge for creating real solutions to big problems by bringing together people, money, and knowledge.10 They offer advice for setting up plans that can change the game in neurotechnology with the Center for Strategic Philanthropy.10

The BrightFocus Foundation and others are playing a leading role in using charitable funds to advance neurotech.10 In 2021 alone, BrightFocus gave $25.3 million in grants, funding over 260 research projects worldwide.10

Doing well in neurotech means looking at biology, technology, regulations, and market trends.10 Smart neurotechnology platforms can push new ways of doing business, boost how fast ideas become products, and link research efforts.13

ChallengesStrategies for Support
Healthcare and R&D economicsTargeted philanthropic funding to bridge the “Valley of Death”
Unknown mechanisms of actionIncreased investment in fundamental neuroscience research
Regulatory hurdlesCollaboration with regulatory bodies to streamline approval processes
Clinician adoption challengesEducation and training programs for healthcare professionals
Patient acceptance issuesPublic awareness campaigns and patient advocacy initiatives

By creating this full neurotechnology ecosystem, we can work through the hurdles and reach success in the market.13

The Future of Neurotechnology: Promising Devices and Applications

The future of neurotechnology is bright, with new technologies set to change the game. Things like brain-computer interfaces, optogenetics, and neural tissue engineering are leading the way. They offer new hope in understanding and treating brain and mental health issues.

Brain-Computer Interfaces

Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are making big waves in neurotechnology. They let people move things with their minds. This is particularly helpful for folks with paralysis or missing limbs. They can get back some of their movement and freedom by using these devices.14

BCIs are not just for control; they also promise new therapies and easier ways to interact with machines. As we improve BCIs, we’re creating exciting possibilities for the future.

Optogenetics and Optical Neural Interfaces

Optogenetics uses light to alter neural activity. It’s becoming a key method in understanding and treating brain disorders. By making cells light-sensitive, scientists can precisely control brain circuits. This can lead to new ways to help with brain health.14

Optical neural interfaces take this a step further. They help target and record with less harm. This combination of optogenetics and optical tech is pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in neuroscience.

Neural Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials

Neural tissue engineering is growing fast. It works on making materials that can repair neural tissues. This work could be amazing for healing things like spinal cord injuries, Alzheimer’s, or head injuries.14

Combining these new materials with neurotech devices like neuroprosthetics can do even more. It could change many lives through advanced solutions.

Growing the Landscape of Neurotechnology Innovators

Building a strong community of neurotechnology innovators, neurotechnology startups, and neurotechnology entrepreneurs is key for progress in this field. This group includes researchers, small companies, and big medical device makers. They all push forward the development of brain-related tech.

High amounts of money show the bright future of this industry. For example, Akili Interactive Labs earned over $301.1 million, and BrainQ got $48.8 million.15 Donations from the BrightFocus Foundation, which gave $25.3 million in 2021, also support neurotechnology.10

The BrightFocus-funded report points out some challenges in making new neurotechnology work.10 They mention the “Valley of Death,” where great ideas fail to go from the lab to real patient care. Solving this is crucial.10

In the face of challenges, the world of neurotechnology innovators is still growing. Companies like Kernel, Neuralink, CTRL-Labs, and Synchron are now leading in new brain technology. These include brain-machine hookups, advanced prosthetics, and more.3 Their work could change healthcare and what we can do as humans. This could lead to a future where neurotechnology is a big part of how we understand and treat brain issues.

Neurotechnology InnovatorLocation / YearFunding Amount
AAVAACanada / 2019$2.17M in pre-seed funding
Actipulse NeuroscienceUSA / 2017$840K in seed funding
Akili Interactive LabsUSA / 2011$301.1M in funding
Aleva NeurotherapeuticsSwitzerland / 2008$65.3M in a corporate round
ArctopUSA / 2016$5M in seed funding
AxoftUSA / 2021$8M in non-equity assistance
Axonics, IncUSA / 2013$735.6M post-IPO
BioinductionUK / 2005$12.5K in grant funding
BIOSUK / 2015$5.7M in seed funding
BioSerenityFrance / 2014$88.7M in a corporate round

Challenges and Ethical Considerations

The study of neurotechnology is very exciting. But, it comes with tough challenges and important ethical questions. We need to make brain implants stable and safe for a long time. This is a big focus of our research right now.8

Prosthetic arms controlled by the brain raise issues about safety and complication risks. These neurotechnology devices are quite invasive. They bring up big worries about patient safety and risks.8

There are many ethical concerns about neurotechnology. Some wonder if using it can change a person’s personality. Others think deeply about the true responsibilities of using such advanced technology.8

The use of neurotechnology also brings up concerns about things like autonomy and privacy. The technology can directly connect with our minds. It makes some people worry about important values like consent, integrity, and dignity.16

Using the huge amount of brain data we get also raises issues. This data is often from our unconscious mind. It could cause privacy concerns and problems with mental privacy.16

Problems might come up when we interpret brain data wrong. This could lead to discrimination or misuse of personal info. It makes the ethical part even more complex.16

Developing neurotech responsibly is crucial. It must have positive effects on individuals and society. This means being responsible when we create and use such advanced technology.16

Source Links


Leave a Comment