2014 NSF Workshop on Noninvasive Imaging of Brain Function






The National Science Foundation (NSF) – Directorate for Engineering (ENG) in cooperation with DARPA and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conducted a workshop to explore the scientific and technological grand challenges, strategies, opportunities, and breakthrough ideas for innovation in Noninvasive Imaging of Brain Function. The goal of the workshop was to identify research directions and opportunities that, if pursued, can initiate new developments in brain imaging instrumentation and technologies.

The workshop final report can be downloaded here.

Discussion topics for the workshop included:

Understanding the needs:

  • What are the outstanding near- and far-term neuroscience questions that could be addressed with improving imaging modalities? (fMRI, MEG, EEG, optical, acoustic)
  • What are the most important aspects of existing imaging technology that limit our ability to understand the brain? (Spatial resolution, temporal resolution, environmental constraints, sensitivity, etc.)
  • What are some examples of excellent fundamental discoveries and bio-inspired principles that could enable game changing sensors or imaging modalities? 
  • How can imaging information at different scales and with different modalities be linked to improve our understanding of in vivo brain function and its relationship to perceptions, thoughts or behaviors?

Establishing technology requirements:

  • What technology advances might enable new instrumentation concepts or step-changes in performance of existing approaches?
  • In what ways could newly developed electric, magnetic and optical imaging techniques be used together to provide new insight into brain function?
  • What multidisciplinary research efforts would be most likely to produce advances in noninvasive brain imaging.






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