Neurotechnologies

A fundamental field of research

Neurotechnologies are a sector that is very much on the rise in Vaud. With the leading skills on offer at the CHUV for the medical aspect, those of the EPFL for technical excellence and innovation capacity, and with various Swiss and international businesses active in this field being located in the canton, Vaud is ideally placed to take on a leading role in this fascinating and demanding domain.

The study of the brain and gaining a better understanding of how it works, via treatments linked to neurological diseases and their prevention, is a field of research that is as highly detailed as it is fundamental. It requires infrastructures and facilities of excellent quality, highly qualified personnel, and a political and economic context that is solid and secure. The canton of Vaud, like the rest of Switzerland, meets these demands. A perfect example of this is the Human Brain Project that is steered from the EPFL.

This exacting field is perhaps best illustrated by the complex, heavy equipment that it generates, such as exoskeletons, robots, and certain brain–machine interfaces. It also involves lighter technologies such as connected devices, smartphones which play a liaison role, and watches with biosensors, all of which provide added value in caring for a patient suffering from a neurological illness.

This field of research is of the utmost importance at the moment in the context of the aging population in the Western world. The probability of developing a neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s increases with age. For Alzheimer’s alone, 144,000 people suffer from it in Switzerland, and this figure could rise to 300,000 by 2040.

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