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Imagine that you are a neuroscientist who is working on a system to overcome a spinal cord injury. Create a new brain-computer interface system. The goal of this system is to operate either mechanical hands or legs like the ones shown in the video. How would you design this system?

Begin with a brief overview of what brain-computer interfaces are and their purpose for treating serious nervous system injuries.

The first part of the system will need to collect information from the skin and limb position. How would the sensory side of your proposed system work? Sensory inputs will be important so people can “feel” their robotic legs or arms.

The second part of the new system will be processing information. What occurs in the brain, like making decisions about movement and using sensory information? Try to use the brain parts described in the assigned reading for this week.

The third part of the proposed system is outputs. What kind of technology will you use to detect brain activity? How does it communicate to the robotic limbs? What will the person do or think to control their robotic limb? Again, incorporate the technologies described in this reading and the ones from previous weeks into your answer.

Finish your essay with a conclusion about how successful you think this technology will be for treating paralyzed people. What is the potential or future for this technology? You might also address how much this will cost to treat patients.

The Nervous System | Noba (nobaproject.com)

Brain-Computer Interfaces in Medicine – PMC (nih.gov)

How to do the critical thinking essays
The critical thinking assignments are short essays on the topic of the week. The purpose of these essays
is to take important concepts from the class and use them in a productive way. Imagine a concept as
being like a tool. The use of critical thinking is being able to use that tool in a productive way to
accomplish something meaningful.
Skills: The critical thinking essays will strengthen thinking and writing skills.
Learning: This productive use of ideas is more than simply repeating information from the reading or a
video. Critical thinking is often more important than memorization. The five areas of critical thinking
skills are:
• Conceptualize: This involves identifying the issues of a topic in a clear and effective manner.
• Analyze: This is breaking down the components of a complex problem.
• Synthesize: This is assembling pieces of information into a new and holistic view.
• Evaluate: This is examining the sources of information and basing judgments on the value or
trustworthiness of these sources.
• Application: This is taking ideas and using them in a practical way in everyday life.
The process of writing is good for accomplishing these learning goals. The use of writing for this
purpose has been called a write-to-learn educational strategy.
The critical thinking exercise begins with the concept of the week. Most topics have background
information in the content folder for the week that prepares you for the assignment. Read through these
carefully to acquire a foundation for the writing project.
The next part is to write a short essay that answers a critical question about the assigned reading. This
will involve using the idea in a productive way.
The assignment for each week will have some questions to point you in the right direction. A typical
essay might use the following structure.
• Begin with background information about the phenomenon.
• Describe the concept.
• Give an example of the concept in the real world.
• What are the broader implications of this idea? Apply this idea to something outside of
examples used in the article or video. Push yourself to think about the broader possibilities of
this idea.
• End with your viewpoint on this phenomenon, including evidence that supports your view.
The essay should be at least 400 words in length, which is about 1.5 to 2 typed pages that are doublespaced with normal sized fonts. The essays should follow good college writing standards: Professional,
grammar, spelling, citations/references, and strong general effort. The essays should be submitted via
the GeorgiaView assignments folder.
Grading criteria
The essays must meet all of the following requirements to receive a passing grade. If one of these is
missing, the exam will receive a failing grade and will need to be redone.
All of the assignment objectives must be addressed.
The length must be at least 400 words, not including titles and references.
Effort and professionalism are shown by having good spelling, organization, and college-level
Direct quotes are not allowed. The problem is that college students often over use direct quotes
in their writing as a low-effort writing strategy.
â—¦ Paraphrasing is required, in which the original ideas are expressed in your own words.
One external source (that is, something from outside of course content) must be used to show
your own investigation into this topic. External means that the source must be something that is
not provided for you in the course content. The external source will provide information that
helps you make an argument about the topic.
â—¦ The use of professional-grade search engines like Google Scholar
(https://scholar.google.com) or Galileo (https://www.galileo.usg.edu/gsw1) is encouraged
over basic search engines.
The essay must use paragraphs and have a logical organization. Paragraphs are important for
grouping information that is related. The writing should follow a logical progression of thought.
â—¦ Essays that are one gigantic paragraph will need to be redone.
Critical thinking: The essay must include some degree of analysis, synthesis, evaluation, or
questioning of dubious claims. Put differently, the essay must go beyond simple descriptions or
facts about a phenomenon.
â—¦ For controversies, a good approach is to present evidence from both sides of a controversial
issue, then using reasonable evidence to favor one side of the argument as being stronger.
â—¦ Critical thinking may also include questioning dubious claims. An example would be raising
doubts about the scientific accuracy of whether personality differences (logical vs. creative)
can be localized to either the right or left side of the brain.

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