BISP 194 Advanced Topics in Modern Biology

Neural Prostheses

University of California San Diego
Winter 2009

This course covers both neuroscience and engineering approaches to the design and use of neural prostheses, which restore or supplement function of the nervous system lost by disease or injury. We will study neurotechnology and neural rehabilitation using cochlear implants, retinal implants, deep-brain stimulation, and functional neuromuscular stimulation.

Through your active participation and discussion in class, the goal is that you will not only learn about exciting new developments in this emerging field, but you will also learn to read, critically evaluate, and present advances published in research articles.

Instructor: Prof. Gert Cauwenberghs, Pacific Hall 3100E, x46938,
Office hours: Th 11-noon, or by appointment

Meeting time and location: Tu 12:30-1:50, Pacific Hall 3500

Units: 2

Prerequisites: None. A general background in neuroscience and engineering is helpful but not required. Contact with your name, PID and section number to clear any prerequisite hold on enrollment.


  • Oral group presentation of a research article
  • Participation during discussions/written evaluations of presentations
  • Short quiz on the articles before their presentation, at the beginning of class
  • Final: critical essay on a chosen topic

    More details on guidelines and evaluation criteria are given here.


    Background and reference materials:

  • F.T. Hambrecht, "Neural Prostheses," Ann. Rev. Biophysics and Bioengineering, vol. 8, pp. 239-267, June 1979.
  • M.A. Nicolelis, "Brain-machine interfaces to restore motor function and probe neural circuits," Nat. Rev. Neurosci., vol. 4, pp. 417-422, 2003.
  • J.D. Weiland and M.S. Humayun, "Intraocular retinal prosthesis," IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine, vol. 25(5), pp. 60-66, 2006.
  • P.C. Loizou, "Mimicking the human ear," IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, pp. 101-130, September 1998.
  • IEEE Transactions on Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering (2001-present).
  • Category "Neuroprosthetics" on Wikipedia.
  • Reading assignments, and further research and review articles sorted by category.