February 7th, 2010 - by Simon Laub - Email: email@example.com
A neural interface is a device to exchange information with the nervous system.
Signals can be introduced by localised electric stimulation of neurons. And information can be captured by recording the electrical activity of neurons over time.
Interfacing to the central nervous system - the brain and spinal cord - is a major focus of neuroengineering.
The brain can be divided into several functional areas. The base is the brain stem, center for cardiac and respiratory functions
Above the brain stem, the thalamus, hippocampus, basal ganglia deals with a range of functions,
from temperature regulation, to emotional responses and memory formation. The cerebellum, at the lower back of the skull,
is responsible for posture and motor coordination and more.
The higher brain functions are found in the cortex on the brains surface. It is subdivided into
areas like the visual cortex, motor cortex etc.
In order to control prostetic hands etc. one approach might be to interface with the spinal cord. Where the dorsal side (back) carries sensory information, and the ventral (front) carries motor information.
The SmartHand project  uses skin electrodes to send and receive messages. But future projects might control prosthetic hands with neuro interfaces.