← Back

Outreach News

Friday, 03 June 2022

The ICN2 shared neurotechnology through virtual reality at the Festa de la Ciència

Dr Vicky Puig and Dr Amador Pérez, from the ICN2 Advanced Electronic Materials and Devices Group, together with Àlex Argemí, ICN2 Head or Marketing and Communication, discussed about the opportunities and implications of the BrainCom project and presented an app to explore the project results and the facilities and people that made it possible.

The Festa de la Ciència is a science fair held yearly by the Barcelona City Hall. It is a must-attend event to get in touch with the excellent research being developed in Barcelona and Catalonia. On its 15th edition, the fair offered a diverse and engaging programme including a debate hosted by the ICN2.

The debate revolved around neurotechnology and the graphene-based devices that will be able to read neural activity with great accuracy. Such devices are entering clinical stages and might have meaningful implications in diseases such as epilepsy, ictus and neurodegenerative disorders. Dr Vicky Puig and Dr Amador Pérez, from the ICN2 Advanced Electronic Materials and Devices Group, together with Àlex Argemí, ICN2 Head or Marketing and Communication, discussed about the opportunities and implications of the BrainCom project and presented an app (VRainCom) to explore the project results and the facilities and people that made it possible.

BrainCom, a European project led by the ICN2 together with national and international partners, focuses on the restoration of speech and communication in aphasic patients suffering from upper spinal cord, brainstem, or brain damage. The discussion went beyond that application and explored positive and negative potential uses of such technologies. The debate ended with a call to keep developing excellent science together with the needed regulations that allow the applications demanded by society to be prioritised.

All participants received an adapter to turn their smartphones into a VR device and explore VRainCom (available for Android and iOs). This virtual reality journey introduces some key elements of the project, allows users to visit different laboratories involved in the project and meet the researchers behind this exciting research and ends up with some questions oriented at triggering a discussion about the ethical implications of neuro-implants. The VRainCom app has not been officially presented yet but it is already available to download in 4 languages (English, French, Spanish and Catalan).