Advances In Uses Of Brain-Computer Interfaces For Therapy

Advances In Uses Of Brain-Computer Interfaces For Therapy

In the continuing effort to simplify control mechanisms, scientists have come up with a new method. This does not use any wires or signals, only thought. They transmit thought from one person to another, and this is called a brain-computer interface (BCI). You can connect directly to the internet using an electroencephalograph (EEG) machine, and you can control things happening at another place on earth. The scientists performed an initial trial in August 2013.

Working through Brain Impulses

Here is how it takes place. An EEG machine records impulses from a brain. It will transmit these signals through a computer to another person in another place. This person wears headphones and controls a mouse, which can direct a set of things. In the studies they conducted on a university campus, there saw a reported 25-83% success rate in controlling “press button” action of the recipient.

The reason why BCI works is that we have neurons in our brain that depend on electrical activity to work. Individual nerve cells move and connect every time we think, move, or do some work. By programming the right sequence for a work, we can get many things to work for us full time without any circuits or gadgetry.

Structure Insides Brain

This is an effort that we see taking place in our brain. Myelin, a substance, insulates and protects the electrical activity. Some signals escape protection, and our computer can detect these signals. Applications of this are enormous. Scientists could read signals that were passed when a person saw the color red. By feeding a brain with that precise signal, a person could see the color red. So, a blind person is able to see red by manipulating signals.

Mechanics of this interface is more complicated. For starters, we use an EEG that has electrodes that attach to the brain through our skull. However, our skull blocks most signals and those that pass through are distorted. To overcome this, scientists implant electrodes directly into the grey matter. They may even choose the precise location where signals originate. We see a few problems associated with this approach. One is that it needs invasive surgery. The second is that it forms scar tissue. This will ultimately block signals.

Another Type of Interface

We may also use Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) instead of using electrodes. However, an MRI machine itself is huge and complicated. Use benchmarks obtained through tests, it is possible for scientists to map precise locations where one must keep these electrodes. This will help a person control a robotic arm through thought waves.

Future of such brain-computer interface systems is to achieve total control of things (like an extension of the Internet of Things) where you do not require any remote controls to open your garage door. Alternatively, switch on lights in the evening…possibilities are endless and so are a need for methods. Many scientists believe they have achieved at least partial success in their first step in this direction.

4 thoughts on “Advances In Uses Of Brain-Computer Interfaces For Therapy

  1. S. Burrow says:

    The invasive methods seem a bit harsh. The brain mostly records it impulses in currents, similar to electricity as such it produce pulse so I believe nodes works just fine as invasive surgery may cause potential damage to the grey matter

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