I'm in my undergrad and am interested in brain-computer interfacing, but the field is still very new and undetermined.

My hope is to be at the forefront of the field of BCI and be in a position where I can contribute to research. In particular, I want to develop a BCI that serves some cognitive purpose and is actually suitable for human use (though it doesn't have to be a consumer product). To this end, after I graduate, should I pursue academia or industry?

A big con with the academia option seems to be that academics have to cater to journals for funding instead of pursuing what they want. Also, presumably in academia I wouldn't be able to try and develop an device: I'd likely have to stop just short of the development stage, which is why I lean towards industry. Is this the correct conclusion?

I use "I" a lot here, but I understand that my goal won't be realized without the help of many others. I know very little about academia and even less about industry, so any advice or insight whatsoever is greatly appreciated!

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  • I don't think the BCI field is actually very new. There has been a BCI group at my institution for decades. Of course there are new developments, but from what I can see the field has been making slow progress (the usual mode of research) for a while now. – cheersmate Nov 22 '19 at 8:39

You haven't said anything about what you have studied. In order to work in brain computer interaction you will have to know a lot about brains and about computers. No company is likely to hire you to teach you all that, so you will probably start out in academia. Get a doctorate in one of those fields where you can work near to the other. Then decide between industry and academia for your next step.

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  • Thank you for the response! Indeed, I neglected to mention what I'm studying because I hope to just study whatever is most efficient for my goal. (At the moment, I'm majoring in comp. sci and minoring in biochem.) So are you saying I should get a PhD before all else? And would I have to transition to industry after my PhD in order to be able to develop a new device, or will that be possible in academia as well? – James Ronald Nov 22 '19 at 3:06
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    I don't like giving advice based on so little information. Talk to your professors in both disciplines. Figure out which grad school. You have several years before you have to make the next career decision. You will know a lot more then. – Ethan Bolker Nov 22 '19 at 3:09

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