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Brain-Computer Interface Companies Wary of Regulation

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A researcher uses a Brain-Computer Interface helmet.

Credit: Jean-Pierre Clatot/AFP/Getty Images

Executives of brain-computer interface (BCI) developers warned of excessive government regulation at a conference hosted by the U.S. Commerce Department.

BCIs' dual consumer/military applications place them under the jurisdiction of the Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Standards, making them potentially subject to export controls.

Blackrock Neurotech's Marcus Gerhardt said curtailment of access to Chinese chipmakers would essentially cripple the nascent BCI industry, while Neuralink's D.J. Seo and others detailed how BCIs enhance patients with conditions ranging from paralysis to blindness.

Many companies said they were pursuing regulatory approval and called military applications a long time off; they also highlighted their reliance on global supply chains, global funding, and foreign-born researchers.

Paradromics' Matt Angle suggested the Commerce Department's role could be "constructive and proactive in trying to get a little more carrot to the industry, and a little less stick."

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