Brain Computer Interfaces
"Last week, engineers sniffing around the programming code for Google Glass found hidden examples of ways that people might interact with the wearable computers without having to say a word. Among them, a user could nod to turn the glasses on or off. A single wink might tell the glasses to take a picture. But don't expect these gestures to be necessary for long. Soon, we might interact with our smartphones and computers simply by using our minds. In a couple of years, we could be turning on the lights at home just by thinking about it, or sending an e-mail from our smartphone without even pulling the device from our pocket. ... Researchers in Samsung's Emerging Technology Lab are testing tablets that can be controlled by your brain, using a cap that resembles a ski hat studded with monitoring electrodes, the MIT Technology Review , the science and technology journal of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, reported this month. The technology, often called a brain computer interface, was conceived to enable people with paralysis and other disabilities to interact with computers or control robotic arms, all by simply thinking about such actions. Before long, these technologies could well be in consumer electronics, too. Some crude brain-reading products already exist, letting people play easy games or move a mouse around a screen. NeuroSky, a company based in San Jose, Calif., recently released a Bluetooth-enabled headset that can monitor slight changes in brain waves and allow people to play concentration-based games on computers and smartphones. ... But the products commercially available today will soon look archaic. 'The current brain technologies are like trying to listen to a conversation in a football stadium from a blimp,' said John Donoghue, a neuroscientist and director of the Brown Institute for Brain Science. 'To really be able to understand what is going on with the brain today you need to surgically implant an array of sensors into the brain.' In other words, to gain access to the brain, for now you still need a chip in your head. Last year, a project called BrainGate pioneered by Dr. Donoghue, enabled two people with full paralysis to use a robotic arm with a computer responding to their brain activity."
("Brain Computer Interfaces Move Closer to Mainstream," New York Times, April 28, 2013)
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