On Oct. 28, Battelle joined other innovators who are doing the impossible at the Dare Mighty Things event in Chicago. I’m proud to have been one of the presenters at this inspiring event.
The event was about embracing risk and how boldly working on difficult problems can lead to unexpected outcomes. Some of the best ideas result from learning from experiences when things don’t work out as planned. The key is to be willing to say yes to good ideas and be ready for the successes and embrace potential failures. If you test existing boundaries and stop whenever you encounter resistance, you will never get anywhere and you won’t learn.
You’ve got an idea. Go for it. What’s the worst that can happen? You fail. But you learn from those experiences and can then achieve some incredible things.
At Battelle, we whole-heartedly embrace this philosophy in all the things we do. Nowhere is it more visible than in our work with neurotechnology.
The brain is our most valuable possession. During the entire existence of mankind, the brain has been stuck inside our head. There’s never been a time when our brains could be connected to the outside world beyond the nervous system running through the body.
It doesn’t have to be that way anymore.
Battelle dared mighty things nearly 10 years ago when we had a crazy thought: what if we could tap into the brain, bypass the damaged part of the nervous system and help a paralyzed person regain movement?
Turns out, we could.
Not only was our five year *NeuroLife® Neural Bypass Technology clinical study a success, but the positive, unintended consequences have shown us the future of neurotechnology is nearly limitless.
Now we’re taking what we’ve learned – from our successes and failures – and are continuing to challenge the status quo.
Battelle is harnessing the power of our technologies to go beyond paralysis and think deeply about how neurotechnology could affect you, me and virtually anybody that might use neurotechnology today and into the future. Will it be to change the way we use VR systems, or a little boost in our memory as we get a little older, or perhaps it is to facilitate physical and cognitive function. There is the possibility to go beyond physical limitations where biology is broken and perhaps when it is not. This can have a huge impact on optimizing our neuroplasticity and open up new avenues for bioelectric medicine in health and human performance.
What does that mean?
It means a person with a spinal cord injury can regain movement, that an older person with memory loss can remember more often, and that a stroke patient can rehab and return to nearly normal function.
It might sound like science fiction and something that’s way in the future. But this is the technology of today. The future of neurotechnology is “now” so let’s move beyond dreaming about the future and make it a reality of today.
We will continue to dare mighty things, not just to push the envelope, but because we a have a responsibility to help improve lives. Stay tuned to see how we continue to do the impossible.
About the Author
Dr. Justin Sanchez is the Life Sciences Research Technical Fellow at Battelle Memorial Institute where he provides strategic direction and technical leadership for national security and commercial businesses. Previously, he served as the Director (SES) of the Biological Technologies Office (BTO) at DARPA where he developed breakthrough technologies and capabilities in areas of neurotechnology, gene editing/synthetic biology, and outpacing infectious diseases.
*Disclaimer: This is an investigational device, it's not commercially available, and it has not been cleared or approved by the FDA. Results shown are from studies performed.