Are We Ready For The Brain-Computer Interface?


We are close to the future where food can be ordered the instant we think about the same, and even in the case when a Netflix series is downloaded if we decide ourselves mentally upon binge-watching the same during the weekend. These cool-sounding concepts may soon become reality by the advancements made in brain-computer interface (BCI) which is aimed at making above-mentioned ideas into a reality.

Having proved itself as a powerful communication tool between user and systems brain-computer interface enabling users to interact directly with any external device through their brain activity. Speaking in common man’s language this is a system using electrical impulses produced by neurons whilst communicating with each other, and are further processed, decoded into commands that are then sent to an output device to execute the desired actions.

Brain-computer interfaces are usually of 2 types being the invasive type and non-invasive type. Invasive type of BCI consist of electrodes or other special devices being implanted onto the human brain; or to a specific set of neurons via surgery. In case of the Non- invasive BCI ones, they can easily be placed and removed easily. These tools use sensors that are applied on or near the head for tracking and recording brain activity. The common examples include Electroencephalography, Magnetoencephalography, and Functional magnetic resonance imaging.

People often opt non-invasive BCI being safer and relatively of lower-cost among the two. The onset of non-invasive brain-computer interfaces, huge developments can be seen being made in areas of deep learning solutions which will help to improve BCIs accuracy, and also drop in the cost of EEG headsets, we can see a growing number of start-ups and large tech firms who happen to be searching for newer ways for revenue generation from brain data. Companies are also using this technology for the development of new forms of communication and newer business applications, as of now there already a few tech giants that seem to have step foot in this business venture are have started profit-making.

Even techpreneur Elon Musk has publicly revealed many times about his Neural ink, to be developing sensors that connect to the brain and permit it to control linked devices. It has been claimed that the first real-world application of Neural ink chip sensors will be to assist paraplegic people with using their smartphone or computer, though it could also be used to treat epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and even provide” rich visual feedback to the blind”.

Apart from the healthcare, applications of the brain-computer interface include controlling linked (IoT) devices such as smart door locks directly with your brain, without the need for a go-between such as a virtual assistant. In research co-funded by the U.S. Army Research Office, conducted by Dr Stocco and his colleagues from the University of Washington, the team was able to send brain signals, via the Internet, and control the hand of another person.  In a more recent study, experts from France, Spain and Harvard University were able to transmit brain to brain signals, from India to France.

So, the future of brain-computer Interface has huge potential for every industry vertical and is set to take the world by a new wave of disruption.


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