Advances in Science Must Benefit All Humanity

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Advances in Science Must Benefit All Humanity

By: 
Christian Jutten

This issue of IEEE Signal Processing Magazine is mainly focused on neurorehabilitation and assistive technologies. For a few decades, microelectronics, signal processing, robotics, and computer science have been the driver of many scientific and technological advances, with applications in many domains, including health.

This is quite clear when considering the fast evolution in medical imaging, robotics for computer-assisted medical and surgical interventions, brain–computer interfaces (BCIs), noninvasive brain stimulation, neurofeedback, and the control of limb prostheses, to cite only a few examples. The main application domain covered by this issue is related—but not limited—to the social fact of the increase in the population of the elderly, who suffer from a loss of mobility and autonomy as well as neurodegenerative disorders.

Based on advances of the last decades, the articles in this special issue show how new sensors, devices, and signal processing methods can finely analyze and use biological signals like electroencephalograms (EEGs) and electromyograms (preferably based on noninvasive recordings) for treating patients with different health issues, e.g., neural disorders or controlling a prosthesis. In addition, new embedded and wearable devices allow patients to safely stay at home with continuous monitoring of their health state, with the data directly sent to their physician or hospital. Many of the existing methods are still in their infancy, and they open wide perspectives for human benefits as well as, especially, the elderly and those with amputations.

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