Outside the United States
In the Matter of Carrot Neurotechnology, Inc., File No. 1423132
As a researcher in visual perceptual learning, I would like to express my opinion on the FTC's recent action against Prof. Aaron Seitz. Perceptual training has been demonstrated to improve perceptual sensitivity by many scientific studies in the past decades. Despite the variability in the degree of the improvement due to the paradigms and stimuli used, the observed learning effects are solid. Further investigations are being made by combining psychophysics, electrophysiology, brain imaging, and computational modeling, in the hope that the mechanisms behind the learning effects can be fully understood and hence the training methods can be further improved. It is a scientifically proved area with a bright future to translate basic psychological research into public's wellbeing. I believe that both commercial and technical innovations along this track should be encouraged. While I also agree that the market should be regulated, I found the large amount of settlement that Prof. Seitz has to pay is not fully justified. According to Prof. Seitz' open letter, he has not received a single penny from his work with Carrot Neurotechnology. Considering the annual income of a professor in a state university in USA, this settlement is actually a huge punishment against an individual scientist who was trying to commercializing his latest research into application. Again, I believe that innovation on translating basic research into commercial product should be encouraged, regulated, but not heavily punished if it does not contain potential threat to the public safety. I plead the FTC to reconsider the decision and deliver a positive message to the scientific community.