Nature Reviews Neuroscience 10, 530-540 (July 2009) | doi:10.1038/nrn2653

OpinionPrinciples of neural ensemble physiology underlying the operation of brain–machine interfaces

Miguel A. L. Nicolelis1,2 & Mikhail A. Lebedev1  About the authors


Research on brain–machine interfaces has been ongoing for at least a decade. During this period, simultaneous recordings of the extracellular electrical activity of hundreds of individual neurons have been used for direct, real-time control of various artificial devices. Brain–machine interfaces have also added greatly to our knowledge of the fundamental physiological principles governing the operation of large neural ensembles. Further understanding of these principles is likely to have a key role in the future development of neuroprosthetics for restoring mobility in severely paralysed patients.

Author affiliations

  1. Miguel A. L. Nicolelis and Mikhail A. Lebedev are at the Duke University Center for Neuroengineering and the Department of Neurobiology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.
  2. Miguel A. L. Nicolelis is also at the Edmond and Lily Safra International Institute of Neuroscience of Natal, Rua Professor Francisco Luciano de Oliveira, 2460, Candelária, Natal, Rio Grande do Norte 59066-060, Brazil and is a Fellow at the Center for Neuroprosthetics, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.

Correspondence to: Miguel A. L. Nicolelis1,2 Email:


These links to content published by NPG are automatically generated.


Cortical-based neuroprosthetics: when less may be more

Nature Neuroscience News and Views (01 Nov 2008)

Neuroscience Brain control of a helping hand

Nature News and Views (19 Jun 2008)

See all 4 matches for News And Views