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IET World Series Lecture: Is brain to brain communication through technological innovation truly achievable?

Prof Christopher JamesThe Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), one of the world’s largest multi-discipline professional societies for engineers and technicians, is all set to host the IET Wheatstone Lecture 2012. The topic is “Communicating person to person through the power of thought alone” and will be delivered by Christopher J. James, Professor of Healthcare Technology and Director of the Institute of Digital Healthcare, University of Warwick, UK. The purpose of this event is to demonstrate the technologies that are relevant to the measurement, sensors, instrumentation and NDT Network and also encourage young people to take up engineering by demonstrating the exciting projects that engineers work on.

As part of the lecture, Professor James will introduce how Brain-Computer Interfacing (BCI) can be used for capturing brain signals and translating them into commands that allow humans to control (just by thinking) devices such as computers, robots, rehabilitation technology and virtual reality environments. Whilst BCI is no longer a new thing and person-to-person communication via the nervous system has been shown in the past, this is the first time we are starting to see true brain-to-brain interfacing being demonstrated. The full implications of this are yet to be understood but there are some scenarios where brain-to-brain communication could be of huge benefit such as intelligence and gaming.

This talk will introduce BCI and the field of neural engineering in general, as well as how brain-to-brain communication was enacted in the experiment. Above all it will pose the question – “is brain-to-brain communication through technological innovation truly achievable?”

Professor James said, “I am very honoured to be giving this year’s IET Wheatstone Lecture. Sir Charles Wheatstone was a true scientist and inventor, who made important contributions to the measurement of the velocity of electricity and light, amongst others. Through my work, in the measurement of brain activity, we hope to push the boundaries of research into extracting information from the working brain and, indeed, how we might go about inputting information into it. During the Wheatstone Lecture I will be giving an insight into some of this research and discussing what the future may hold.”

The Wheatstone Lecture aims to honours the life and work of Sir Charles Wheatstone (1802 - 1875), whose contributions to British science and engineering included work on the Cooke-Wheatstone Telegraph and the Wheatstone Bridge.


About the IET:

The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) is one of the world’s largest multi-discipline, professional societies of engineers and technicians, with more than 150,000 members across 127 countries and offices in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific. Its members operate in almost 100 Local Networks across the world, as well as 21 Technical and Professional Networks. The IET provides a global knowledge network to facilitate the exchange of ideas and promote the positive role of science, engineering and technology in the world.


About the Institute of Digital Healthcare:

The Institute of Digital Healthcare (IDH) is an institute within the University of Warwick, set up in partnership with NHS West Midlands, WMG and Warwick Medical School (WMS). The IDH aims to improve people's health and wellbeing through the use of innovative digital technologies.

By combining the talents and resources from WMG, WMS, NHS West Midlands, NHS Trusts, private enterprises, charities and other bodies, the IDH will design and deliver appropriate care solutions that will have a real benefit to patients and their care support networks.


About the University of Warwick:

The University of Warwick is arguably the most successful of UK universities, founded within the past half-century, and has earned an outstanding reputation both for research and teaching. Warwick is comfortably ranked within the top ten of all UK university league tables. The latest national UK newspaper tables all ranked Warwick in the top ten (The Times, Sunday Times, The Independent) and 3rd place (The Guardian) overall.

Warwick employs nearly 5,000 members of staff, of whom 1,750 are academic and research staff spread across 28 academic departments and 30 research centres. The University's most recent QAA Institutional Audit in November 2008 resulted in findings of "confidence" in our management of academic standards and the quality of the learning experience, and a very positive report. The results of the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) again reiterated Warwick’s position as one of the UK’s leading research universities, being ranked 7th overall in the UK (based on multi-faculty institutions). 65% of Warwick’s research is ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, with a quality level of either 3* or 4*. 19 Warwick Departments were ranked in the top 10 in the UK in their units of assessment and Warwick achieved a 35% increase in the number of staff selected in RAE 2008, with almost 90% of staff submitted.

The University of Warwick has a total student population of 19,000 (full-time equivalent) of whom approximately 12,500 are undergraduates and 6,500 are postgraduates. The University is an international and cosmopolitan body which is committed to tackling major global problems through research and teaching. Many of Warwick’s staff originate or were educated overseas and almost a third of the total student population comes from over 120 countries outside of the UK.


About WMG:

WMG was founded by Professor Lord Bhattacharyya in 1980 to help reinvigorate UK manufacturing. From its inception WMG's mission has been to improve the competitiveness of organisations through the application of value adding innovation, new technologies and skills deployment, bringing academic rigour to industrial and organisational practice. An academic department of the University of Warwick, the group started small - just an office, the Professor and his secretary. Today it is one of the world's leading research and education groups. Over 450 people work across five buildings on the Warwick campus plus collaborative centres in six countries with an annual programme of £140m which includes industrial and in-kind support from companies such as Jaguar Land Rover.

For further information please contact Lisa Barwick, WMG Communications Manager, University of Warwick, (, 02476 524721, 07824 540845

Tue 09 Oct 2012, 11:33 | Tags: Digital Lifecycle Management Research