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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: George Rudolph, PhD (The Citadel)
Description: This book on the emerging interdisciplinary science of neuroengineering is a compendium of current research, covering models, processes, hardware, and software, with an emphasis on the man-machine interface for rehabilitative devices.
Purpose: The author's purposes for the book are to highlight recent advances in wearable and implantable technology and related computational and neural science; serve as a primer, educational material, technical reference, and R&D resource; and become the unique neural engineering resource that contributes to the organization of the neural engineering knowledge domain and facilitates growth in the field. These are worthy objectives, but I don't believe it will become a unique resource — in fact, nanotechnology and embedded systems are changing so rapidly that it is difficult to predict what capabilities will be like in five years. It does, however, meet the other objectives.
Audience: According to the author, this book is written as a primer for students, for practitioners, and for researchers in the field of neuroengineering. This book may be a primer on neuroengineering, but a reader has to have a significant background in one of the contributing fields to make use of it. It is for graduate students, practitioners, and researchers.
Features: The book is a survey of current research in neuroengineering from the point of view of an emerging, integrated discipline. It highlights recent advances and innovations in medicine, software, hardware, and systems and their applications to neural rehabilitation. The book adequately covers information in the field, and the chapters are interesting. Readers with different backgrounds will find something to interest them, and the editor did not try to make every chapter interesting to everyone (which is good). There isn't anything particularly innovative about the presentation of the material, but serious readers won't necessarily expect that. What they do want is clear presentation of information, and the book delivers that. The book could use a set of questions at the end of each chapter, which could be a mixture of review and research-oriented questions that highlight the issues and investigations that the authors want to pursue. Although comprehensive in its approach, there is almost too much information in this book, with 40 chapters in 3 parts.
Assessment: This is a good quality book, in terms of content, and it compares favorably with other books on this subject. It is useful as a current survey and resource for ideas, and the state of the art. Like much of the biomedical field, neuroengineering is rapidly evolving, and many details will be out of date before the book is widely read. However, it is useful for researchers to find information like this in one place, rather than to have to search through all the different journals and conferences where this material might otherwise be published.