Thursday, November 06, 2008

Brain Computer Interface continues to evolve

I’ve previously posted about the research involving technologies which allow the Brain to interface with a Computer. One link I provided was the work that Hitachi has made with its
Brain-machine-interface,
As well as the
Project Epoch,
A brain computer interface that lets computer gamers interact using only thoughts and facial expressions.

The programs that allow a person the ability to operate a computer by thought are complex applications that execute computer commands using only normal, human thought processes. This research offers great hope for people who have limited or no motor function, as well as tons of potential for future variations of what it can do.

Now, here’s the latest update on this technology.

If you missed it this past Sunday, the CBS news magazine
60 Minutes
had a report on the latest innovations in this revolutionary technology. When that web page loads, do as the Aerosmith song of a few years back instructed, and “Just Push Play.”

In the video, Scott Pelley reports on two people who use brain interactions with a computer to interact and communicate. The first person we meet is Scott Mackler, a husband, father, and neuroscientist who was diagnosed with ALS nine years ago. Mackler uses an external cap of electrodes to operate the computer and engage the Brain Computer Interface to respond to Pelley’s questions during the interview.

The other person shown in the sequence is Cathy Hutchinson, who was paralyzed after a stroke some years ago. She has a different variation on her interaction with the computer, though. While Mackler was connected via the cap of electrode arrays on the outside of his head, she is directly connected to the computer with electrodes that have been implanted in the motor cortex of her brain. She uses a plug on her head to connect to the Braingate system on the computer. She makes the computer respond to her commands just as if she were operating a mouse with her hand. She has even operated a wheelchair using the Braingate.

Click on the link above and watch the video. It is truly fascinating. This shows what can be done when we push the limits of what is possible. The advances this technology is creating remind me that the potential for mankind to succeed is virtually unlimited.

As a final note, a tip of the hat also goes to CBS for showing great insight to providing accessible material. For those who are deaf or hearing impaired, or just prefer to read the text instead of watching the awe-inspiring video, the network also offers a
text transcript.

1 comment:

Greg said...

Great post, Thanks