Collaborative and Service Projects
The three Technology Research and Development (TR&D) projects have a pivotal role in the Center for Adaptive Neurotechnologies. On the one hand they help to shape the goals and designs of the core technologies; and on the other hand they are the first implementations of the technologies and thus provide the first opportunities to test, improve, and validate them. The collaborative projects greatly enhance the ability of the TR&Ds to perform their central function in the Center. Each collaborative project constitutes an implementation of adaptive neurotechnology that is at once demanding in its testing of the technology, important in itself, and, hopefully, a first example of a new class of neurotechnology applications. With these purposes in mind, the collaborative projects are selected and designed to accomplish three specific aims: (1) To demonstrate the value of new adaptive neurotechnologies by showing that they can make significant new scientific contributions and/or can address important clinical problems. (2) To guide the development and optimization of these new adaptive neurotechnologies by applying them to important purposes and assessing the results. Through ongoing push-pull interactions between the Center and the collaborator, the new technologies are adapted to and optimized for important specific scientific and/or clinical purposes. (3) To define the capabilities and limitations of these new adaptive neurotechnologies and the operations that can help to maximize the former and overcome the latter. By applying them to important purposes and demonstrating their efficacy, the collaborative projects indicate the kinds of scientific questions and/or clinical problems for which the new technologies are most appropriate, and they indicate the factors most critical for their successful use. Thus, the projects should help ensure that the technologies are applied to the right applications and in the right way. By serving these aims, the collaborative projects enhance the ability of the TR&Ds to develop novel adaptive neurotechnologies that serve important scientific or clinical purposes, to validate their efficacy for these purposes, and to define the guidelines for using them most effectively. Thus, they enhance the productivity of the TR&Ds; and they also enhance the achievements of the NIH-funded projects of the collaborators. Furthermore, they prepare the new technologies for use in Center service projects and, ultimately, for widespread training and dissemination.
The TR&Ds and their associated collaborative projects develop novel adaptive neurotechnologies and establish their efficacy in significant scientific and/or clinical applications. The service projects are the first step in translating these newly validated technologies into widespread use. By demonstrating that the technologies can be used and/or are useful to others, they begin their translation into wider use and they initiate their incorporation into the training and dissemination activities of the Center. In order for these projects to perform their key role in the transition to widespread training and dissemination, they have three specific aims: (1) To demonstrate that the new technologies developed and validated by the NCAN and their collaborators can be exported to other users and that these users can master them and apply them appropriately. We provide specific technologies to a carefully selected set of research or clinical groups along with training and advice in their use. We then monitor their use and the quality and consistency of the results they obtain. The goal is to obtain clear evidence that the new technology can be used appropriately by people outside the Center. (2) To show that this usage by people outside the Center can be effective for significant scientific or clinical applications. One of the key criteria in selecting the SPs is that they are likely to result in significant scientific or clinical results. Thus, in the initial training and subsequent support of each project, we guide the project toward fully documented and highly quantitative results that will lead to peer-reviewed papers and/or further clinical adoption. By encouraging and enabling such formal and focused efforts, we help to ensure that each service project provides strong support for the scientific and/or clinical significance of the new technologies. (3) To determine how the technologies should be modified and/or supplemented to enable others to use them with maximum reliability and efficacy. The experience gained through the service projects indicates how the technology should be modified or supplemented to improve the ease and reliability of its use by people outside the Center. Such improvements are often essential for ensuring that a technology is practical and successful for others. Thus, they are a key aspect of the service projects, and they will help to facilitate and guide wider training and dissemination of these new technologies. Each of the service projects now underway has a high probability of achieving these three aims. In sum, we expect that the service project component of the Center will accomplish its important function as a key intermediate step from the technology research and development of the TR&Ds and their collaborative projects to the wider training and dissemination component of the Center.