Flexible neural electronics: World Economic Forum emerging technologies report 

As a World Economic Forum platform partner, Frontiers is collaborating with the Forum on the 2023 edition of its annual emerging technologies report. Chosen by an international panel of experts, the list of top ten emerging technologies included in the report were selected from nearly 100 contenders based on criteria including novelty, applicability, depth, and power. 

Credit: Frontiers

Flexible neural electronics 

One of the ten technologies selected by the Forum panel are so-called flexible neural electronics. These allow electrical signals from the brain to be captured by sensor hardware and used to control machines. While neural electronics systems are already in use for treating epilepsy and in some prosthetic devices, traditional probes can cause discomfort and exhibit poor signal accuracy.  

Researchers have recently developed neural electronics that conform to the brain, reducing scarring and improving accuracy—vastly outperforming traditional hard probes. Flexible neural electronics could deepen our understanding of brain diseases, provide greater control of prosthetics, and boost the development of brain-monitoring devices and brain stents.  

Angela Wu, of the steering committee for the Forum’s report, stated: “In the realm of neural electronics, the development of flexible, biocompatible circuits represents a significant breakthrough that addresses some of the past challenges of such technologies. These advances can enhance neurological research, improve neuroprosthetics, and potentially pave the way for true human-AI interfacing.” 

Dominique P. Pioletti, field chief editor of Frontiers in Medical Engineering (FME) said: “Flexible neural electronics” is a field involving the use of high-level engineering knowledge in medical applications. This kind of research fits perfectly in Frontiers in Medical Engineering, where aspects of electrical engineering or signal processing are applied to better understand biological systems alongside the biocompatibility of materials for developing functional neuroprosthetics. The different aspects of flexible neural electronics have a natural forum in FME.” 

Alongside Frontiers in Medical Engineering the report has also been supported by Frontiers in Medical Technology  

About the emerging technologies report 

For the first time this year the emerging technologies report incorporates “impact fingerprint” survey data offering a more in-depth analysis of the technology’s predicted impact on people, planet, prosperity, industry, and equity over coming years. The academics surveyed were selected from Frontiers’ network of scientific journal editors, while industry leaders were selected from the Forum’s Innovator Communities.  

Frontiers’ chief executive editor Frederick Fenter, who has spearheaded the publisher’s collaboration on the report, said: “This report is an important interface between researchers working at the forefront of science and the leaders who need to understand their work. It has been particularly inspiring to collaborate with the Forum in developing new features to enhance the report’s impact and consolidate its position as an essential resource across research, industry and policy making.” 

To facilitate deeper engagement with the emerging technologies, Frontiers has also co-curated transformation maps for each technology. These are hosted on the Forum’s strategic intelligence platform, where readers can learn more about the key issues of each technology and how it connects to other topics on the global agenda as well as find the latest articles on the topic from trusted sources. 

About Frontiers  

Frontiers is the 3rd most-cited and 6th largest research publisher. We publish groundbreaking discoveries by the world’s top experts. Scientists empower society and our mission is to accelerate scientific discovery by making science open. We place the researcher at the center of everything we do and enable the research community to develop the solutions we need to live healthy lives on a healthy planet. Featuring custom-built technology, artificial intelligence, and rigorous quality standards, our research articles have been viewed more than 1.9 billion times, reflecting the power of research that is open for all.  

%d bloggers like this: