###Did You Know…???
A brain–computer interface (BCI), sometimes called a mind-machine interface (MMI or brain–machine interface (BMI), is a direct communication pathway between an enhanced or wired brain and an external device.
It is a collaboration between a brain and a device that enables signals from the brain to direct some external activity, such as control of a cursor.
This is a system that measures activity of the central nervous system (CNS) and converts it into artificial output that replaces, restores, enhances, supplements, or improves natural CNS output, and thereby changes the ongoing interactions between the CNS and its external or internal environment.
One of the most exciting areas of BCI research is the development of devices that can be controlled by thoughts. Some of the applications of this technology may seem fatuous, such as the ability to control a video game by thought. If you think a remote control is convenient, imagine changing channels with your mind. But one of the important applications of BCI technology is to provide assistance to disabled people like paralytic patients.
Recently, China released a Computer Chip That ‘Talks’ To Your Brain. The chip named “Brain Talker”, is designed to be used in brain computer interfaces (BCIs).
Though for now, they are much more primitive, nevertheless it’s an impressive piece of technology. They can be used to create audible computer-generated speech with the mind, and even to play a game of Tetris telepathically.
There is still a lot of room to improve BCIs, as there are a few BCIs that are already commercially available, such as electroencephalogram (EEG) based games and toys .
Subsequently, BCIs could optimize and improve existing technologies such as the hearing aid and as well help restore functional capability to patients with various disabilities. However, before such technologies become a reality, there is more research that must be done.
Brain Computer Interface Startups
There are startups that are really working on the brain computer interface to bring it fully active and applicable to daily lives.
MindMaze was founded in 2012.It is a Swiss company building a platform that combines VR, brain imaging, computer graphics, and neuroscience. The Company has taken in two rounds of funding totaling $108.5 million so far.
Mindmaze developed is a user interface integrated into a wearable Head Mount Display (HMD) and 3D motion-capture cameras to create a VR and AR environment for patients with neurological disorders. It intends to provide multi-sensory feedback to patients with brain injuries to stimulate motor functions during rehabilitation. It is the first thought-powered VR/AR and motion-capture game system. It’s like being in a simulation and you controlling the outcome with your thoughts.
California startup NeuroPace which was founded in 1997, Mountain View has taken in three rounds of funding totaling $67 million from investors that include Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and New Enterprise Associates. NeuroPace is developing a medical device that identifies unusual brain activity and then sends a pulse to counteract or disrupt the unusual signals marking the onset of an epileptic seizure.
Just like all neurological disorders, the onset of an epileptic seizure has a brainwave signature that can be isolated and identified. The NeuroPace device is known as the RNS System and it functions much like a pacemaker. The RNS System monitors and responds to specific brain activity to stop seizures. There are 65 million souls throughout the world who walk around every day not knowing if they’re going to suddenly have a seizure or not. NeuroPace may give these people a much needed permanent solution.
Founded in 2007, InteraXon has taken in a total of $17.2 million in funding so far from investors that include Ashton Kutcher. InteraXon’s Muse is a brain-sensing headband that helps users to elevate meditation through real-time audio feedback. (Adding up all your yoga instructor fees in a year might help you decide if the Muse’s $249 price tag is worth a try.) We’d fall into the skeptic camp on this one but 420 reviews on Amazon give it a 4.1 out of 5.
It is probable that this technology could become a standard integrated part of medicine, communication, and entertainment. Eventually, the goal is for brain-computer interfaces to go mainstream.