NeuroNet Center for Groundbreaking Neuroscience

ITMO University in alliance with large R&D centers and universities such as Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University submitted an application for developing new NeuroNet center for commercialization of neurotechnologies. The initiative is supported by State Industry-based Union NeuroNet.

NeuroNet is one of nine promising market tracks announced by state support program National Technology Initiative, which aims to develop required conditions for global technological leadership of Russia by 2035. According to NeuroNet`s road map, this direction represents technologies that provide mind-machine integration. The products of this industry can be applied for medicine, education, manufacturing and other fields. The volume of this market is expected to be 100 billion dollars by 2020 and 1.8 USD trillion by 2035.

NeuroNet will fuse together R&D and technology infusion centers, educational and business institutions dealing with both social and commercial projects. To create an effective tech support branch all its` components should be situated close to each other.

St. Petersburg members of the consortium plan to contribute to creation of new technologies and supporting of actual solutions that will be applied for neurotech industry. The experts have already succeeded in making applications for smart manipulating, inhibiting dementia caused by Alzheimer's disease, processing of big data and invention of  business communication`s models.

Natalia Lukovnikova

“To submit this multipurpose application we got in contact with universities for medicine and engineering, biochemical and genetic research centers dealing with brain science as well as business facilities interested in neurotechnologies. All organizations are divided into the main two areas for which they are responsible. There are research of brain activities as well as IT and cognitive science…” said Natalia Lukovnikova, head of Science and Foresight Center of ITMO University.

ITMO University specialists are experienced in development of specific software programs for neurocommunications and neuroscience-based assistants. These technologies are necessary to make correct time-management by reminding of important meetings and events. They can also be applied for providing complicated engineering calculations.

Neurotechnologies will be very useful for improving the efficiency of rehabilitation of paralyzed patients or those who are suffering from brain disfunctions. NeuroNet center`s activities can be interesting for business and governmental institutions responsible for support programs for human rehabilitation.

Thus ITMO University`s International Research Center “Neurophysiology of the Virtual Reality” in alliance with Pavlov Institute of Physiology  Russian Academy of Sciences developed a system, which helps to recover motor and cognitive functions. It was made for people who need to recover after apoplectic attacks, neurosis and psychopathy. The system includes a “game area” thanks to which a patient can manage a virtual projection of his body and receive advices how to correct his movements. This procedure assists to modify neural networks. The system also controls the state of a patient using MRI and electroencephalographic sensor. Currently the technology is tested at Bekhterev`s Institute for Brain and Mental Activity Research and Emergency Control Ministry`s Hospital. The research provided by St. Petersburg experts was supported by the Federal Grant Program.

Moreover, neurotechnologies will be used for education and entertainment industry. The experts develop neuro studies alongside with Internet of Things. The combination of these research tracks is reflected in such projects as smart houses or even smart cities.

According to Ms. Lukovnikova, ITMO University plans to contribute to development of neuroscience research by attracting business partners that constantly collaborate with the University.  ITMO also has required facility for training high-skilled experts in the field of neuroscience. Thus Chair of Computer Educational Technologies has already launched Master`s program “Cognitive Process`s modeling applied for neural information systems.” ITMO University in alliance with Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University and IBM also initiated Cognitive Computing Hackathon to make neuroscience popular with students.

“Organizing Hackathons together with colleagues and partners we want to attract their attention for developing technologies in this field that will be interesting for business. It is also planned to organize other student projects connected with neuroscience. We want to give young developers an opportunity to turn their ideas and projects into startups and even test their inventions,” said Ms. Lukovnikova. 

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