Miguel Nicolelis

Minds and Machines is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Miguel Nicolelis, Professor of Neurobiology, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Biomedical Engineering, Psychology and Neuroscience and Orthopaedic Surgery and Co-Director of the Center for Neuroengineering at Duke University.

This thought-provoking conversation dives into Miguel Nicolelis’ extensive and important research for over 20 years now and how he has been blurring the line between science fiction and science fact, developing increasingly sophisticated ways of harnessing the thoughts of rats, monkeys and humans to drive mechanical devices in the rapidly emerging field of brain-machine interfaces. As he continues to explore how best to apply this fascinating technology to liberate paralysis victims and Parkinson’s sufferers from their neurological constraints, Nicolelis remains focused on challenging conventional wisdom of what the brain is and how it works, consistently probing the evolving frontier between body and mind.

This carefully-edited book includes an introduction, From Science Fiction to Science Fact, and questions for discussion at the end of each chapter:

  1. Revolutionary Rumblings – Beyond 1:1 maps
  2. Plowing Ahead – Pivotal results and scientific scepticism
  3. Interface – Powering robots with monkey minds
  4. Against Reductionism – The pernicious influence of physicists
  5. Incarnating Our Surroundings – How the brain blurs “outside” and “inside”
  6. Imposing Representations – How the brain interacts with the world
  7. Distributed vs. Local – The big issue
  8. Technological Applications – From medical rehabilitation to a joint operating system
  9. Getting Metaphysical – The brain as a reality-mediator
  10. Final Questions – Big ones, dark ones and ontological ones



Available in electronic format on all major booksellers, including: 





Minds and Machines is also part of the five-part Ideas Roadshow Collection, Conversations About Neuroscience, which is available in both paperback and electronic format.


We’ve produced an one-hour video of our conversation with Miguel Nicolelis which is available on Vimeo On Demand: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/mindsandmachines