The future of brain-controlled devices
Posted by keelynet on February 15, 2010
These things run around $150 or so but I think would be a lot of fun and great for hacking. What I never understand is why companies think they can use brainwaves devices that rely on alpha waves to control games where the user gets excited? Maybe I’m missing something but it doesn’t make a lot of sense because you need to be relaxed which doesn’t fit with an action game.
Researchers are already using brain-computer interfaces to aid the disabled, treat diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and provide therapy for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Work is under way on devices that may eventually let you communicate with friends telepathically, give you superhuman hearing and vision or even let you download data directly into your brain, a la “The Matrix.”
Researchers are practically giddy over the prospects. “We don’t know what the limits are yet,” says Melody Moore Jackson, director of Georgia Tech University’s BrainLab. At the root of all this technology is the 3-pound generator we all carry in our head. It produces electricity at the microvolt level. But the signals are strong enough to move robots, wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs — with the help of an external processor.
Brain-computer interfaces (BCI) come in two varieties. Noninvasive techniques use electrodes placed on the scalp to measure electrical activity. Invasive procedures implant electrodes directly into the brain. In both cases, the devices interact with a computer to produce a wide variety of applications, ranging from medical breakthroughs and military-tech advances to futuristic video games and toys.
One of the more controversial uses under development is telepathy. It would require at least two people to be implanted with electrodes that send and receive signals back and forth. DARPA, the Pentagon’s technology research division, is currently working on an initiative called “Silent Talk,” which would let soldiers on secret missions communicate with their thoughts alone. This stealth component is attractive, but naysayers fear that such soldiers could become manipulated for evil means.
Games like Mindflex and the Star Wars Force Trainer use headsets with simple electrodes to monitor levels of concentration and relaxation. The signals trigger a fan that can move a ball up or down, depending on how hard you’re thinking. Jackson calls it a “fascinating application of a very sophisticated technology in a very cheap package.” The headsets used in both games were designed by the California company Neurosky.” – Full Article Source
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