Direct brain control of a PC

Rebang reports the demosntration, at a trade fair, of the Berlin Brain-Computer Interface, a device which allows you to control a computer just by thinking about it.

At the moment its a messy cradle of sensors and wires that you wear like a helmet:
“The crucial requirement for the successful functioning of the BCI is that the electric activity on the scalp surface already reflects motor intentions, i.e., the neural correlate of preparation for hand or foot movements. The BCI detects the motor-related EEG changes and uses this information, for example, to perform a choice between two alternatives: the detection of the preparation to move the left hand leads to the choice of the first, whereas the right hand intention would lead to the second alternative. By this means it is possible to operate devices which are connected to the computer; such a communication can even be realised via the internet.”

Not strictly related to simulation, but think about it. The big problem with computers today is the interface. They have to be a certain size so that our fingers can type on them and our eyes can read the screens. Otherwise they could be much smaller. Given a convenient brain interface, your computer could be in your pocket (where your iPod is now) with two discreet wires running from your head (like your iPods do now). If your computer is wireless enabled, then you can be participating in two worlds (or more) simultaneously: emailing me or surfing the web as you walk along the street. The implications for social software are huge – every time I think about something I can create a tag – but lets not jump on the clickstream bandwagon as it careers off into its tag clouds.

Direct brain to PC contact removes a layer from the simulation experience. You would only have to think something to see it happen. I suspect that this would have psychological and neurological implications for our perceptions, but I am no expert. It will certainly blur the boundaries between simulation and reality still further.

(See yesterdays posting about spatial imaging, ie holographs, being used to make interactive tools. Will we ever reach the stage where your computer simulates a holograph of an old-fashioned keyboard to give you that retro experience?)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *