October 14, 2022 Notice

Neurotech Guidebook Released - For a Society that Understands and Uses Neurotech Properly and Safely

The "Liberation from Biological Limitations via Physical, Cognitive and Perceptual Augmentation" (Project Manager: Ryota Kanai, Representative Organization: Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International, Inc. (ATR), hereafter referred to as "Moonshot Kanai Project") has released the "Neurotech Guidebook ver1.0" regarding Neurotech (neurotechnology), a technology that utilizes brain science knowledge and technology. This guidebook summarizes the current status and issues of the technology, including things that general consumers should be aware of in order to properly understand the Neurotech products available on the market and information that businesses can use as a reference when conducting research and development. It is hoped that this publication will promote a proper understanding of Neurotech in society.

Project Manager's Comment
The policy of the Moonshot Kanai Project is to realize "Trusted BMI" and to create a world where general consumers can safely use BMI. It is hoped that the efforts to create this guidebook will promote a proper understanding of Neurotech, which will help to gain trust in BMI technology and build a foundation for the diffusion of the technology. We also believe that it is important to continue to actively disseminate the results of these activities from Japan to overseas.

The market size of "Neurotech (neurotechnology)," which utilizes brain science knowledge and technology, is expected to expand globally in the future. In particular, the market for direct-to-consumer (DTC) products, which can be purchased directly by consumers, is expanding rapidly, especially in Europe and the United States. Brochures for these products make attractive claims such as "improved concentration," "improved sleep," and "improved exercise performance". But is there any scientific basis for these effects? Are there any dangers for the general consumer to use Neurotech products on their own?

In order to answer these questions, the Moonshot Kanai Project has released a "Guidebook" that presents the correct knowledge and thoughts currently available and how to deal with Neurotech. The "Evidence Book," which summarizes the effectiveness and safety of Neurotech based on the results of a systematic review, is being prepared in parallel with the Guidebook and will be released as soon as it is ready. The contents of the guidebook will be expanded and revised as scientific evidence accumulates so that standards for safe and secure use will be developed.

Contents of Neurotech Guidebook ver1.0
In this guidebook, you will find answers to questions such as "What is Neurotech? What is neurofeedback? What is neuromodulation? What should I look out for in commercial products? What should I pay attention to when developing a product? The answers to these questions are compiled based on scientific evidence and the views of the preparation committee, as well as the opinions of external evaluation committee members, relevant academic societies, and government officials. In addition, we have refined the content of this document based on the feedback we received from the public comments.

Other reference information is compiled in the following sections: "Definition of Medical Devices and Treatment of Consumer Neurotech Products," "Risks and Ethical Issues Associated with the Use of Neurotech," and "How to Stay Up-to-Date on Neurotech. Please note that this guidebook does not concern Neurotech products for medical/research use.

➡Neurotech Guidebook can be viewed here (available only in Japanese).
Click here to view the comments received through public comments on the Neurotech Guidebook (draft) and the Committee's response.

Future Prospects
Neurotech for general consumers is a developing technology, and it is hoped that further scientific evidence will be accumulated, standards and laws will be established, and a system will be put in place to allow safe and secure use of the technology. This document is intended to serve as a first step toward the realization of such a system by summarizing what can be said from the current state of knowledge, what is still unknown, and what is necessary for future development. With the release of this guidebook, the preparation committee will further broaden the scope of its activities and strive to build a system that brings together industry, government, academia, and the private sector.

Neurotech Guidebook Development Committee
Ryota Kanai (CEO, Araya Inc.), Junichi Ushiba (Keio University), Mitsuaki Takemi (Keio University), Takushi Yanagisawa (Osaka University), Takuya Ibaraki (NTT DATA Institute Management Consulting, Inc.)
➡Click here for disclosure of COI (conflict of interest) in the preparation of the "Neurotech Guidebook"

Neurotech R&D Proposals Related to the Creation of Guidebooks
R&D Theme 4-1-1: Research and Development for fundamental technologies and Social Implementation (Principle Investigator: Ryota Kanai)
R&D Theme 4-1-2: Development of Social Infrastructure for Trusted BMI (Principle Investigator: Mitsuaki Takemi)

About the Moonshot R&D Program
The "Moonshot R&D Program" led by the Japanese Cabinet Office promotes challenging research and development by setting ambitious goals that attract people (moonshot goals) for important social issues such as the super-aging society and global warming problems by the government.
➡For information on this project by the National Institute of Science and Technology Agency, click here.

■Outline of R&D Project "Liberation from Biological Limitations via Physical, Cognitive and Perceptual Augmentation"
If a person's intentions can be estimated, it will be possible to create the ultimate cybernetic avatar (CA)*1) that can be manipulated as desired. For estimation, not only internal brain activity but also brain surface information and information on interactions with others are important clues. These will be integrated with AI technology to develop a CA with brain-machine interface (BMI)*2) functionality (BMI-CA), taking ethical issues into consideration. Towards 2050, we aim for the realization of the ultimate BMI-CA that can be operated as a person wishes.
➡Click here for the project website.

(*1) Cybernetic Avatar (Registered trademark No. 6523764)
Cybernetic avatar refers to an avatar that shares senses with human and engages in social activities, like a teleoperated robot or a character in cyberspace.

(*2) Brain-Machine Interface (BMI)
This is a generic term for a technology (interface) that directly connects the brain and machine by information obtained from brain.

For inquiries regarding this release, please contact
For general inquiries about the press and ATR in general
Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR)
TEL: 0774-95-1176
FAX: 0774-95-1178
Email: pr@atr.jp

Inquiries about R&D projects
Ryota Kanai
Araya Inc. CEO
E-mail: pmo@brains.link