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Leading neuroscience researchers are racing to unlock the secrets of the mind. On the cusp of decoding brain signals that govern motor skills, they are developing miraculous technologies that will enable paraplegics and wounded soldiers to move prosthetic limbs and will give all of us the power to manipulate computers and other objects through thought alone. These fiercely competitive scientists are vying for government and venture capital funding, prestige, and wealth.
Part life-altering cure, part science fiction, part Defense Department dream, these cutting edge brain-computer interfaces promise to improve lives-but they also hold the potential to augment soldiers' combat capabilities. In The Brain Electric, Malcolm Gay follows the dramatic emergence of these technologies, taking us behind the scenes in operating rooms, startups, and research labs, where the future is unfolding. With access to many of the field's top scientists, Gay illuminates this extraordinary race-where science, medicine, profit, and war converge-for the first time. But this isn't just a story about technology. At the heart of the scientists' research is a group of brave patient-volunteers, whose lives are given new meaning through these experiments. The Brain Electric asks us to rethink our relationship to technology, our bodies, even consciousness itself, challenging our assumptions about what it means to be human.