Since lasers were first used in medicine and biomedical related research there have been a variety of documented effects following the irradiation of neural tissues. The first systematic studies to report the direct stimulatory effect of infrared light on neural tissues were performed by researchers at Vanderbilt University in the rat sciatic nerve. These initial studies demonstrated a set of associated advantages of standard stimulation methods, which lead to much excitement and anticipation from the neuroscience community and industry. The inception of this new field included a partnership between industry and academia to foster the development, not only of the applications but also a series of devices to support the research and ultimate commercialization of technology. Currently several institutions are actively utilizing this technique in various applications including in the cochlear and vestibular systems. As more researchers enter the field and new devices are developed we anticipate the number of applications will continue to grow. Some of the next steps will include the establishment of the safety and efficacy data to move this technique to clinical trials and human use.