interfaces, transhumanism


Neuroscientists at the Mayo Clinic campus in Jacksonville, Florida, have demonstrated how brain waves can be used to type alphanumerical characters on a computer screen. By merely focusing on the “q” in a matrix of letters, for example, that “q” appears on the monitor.

This is a welcome incremental step towards brain-controlled text input. The other interesting about this experiment is that it was done on people who already had electrodes implanted in their brain to monitor and study their epilepsy. The scientists thought that the electrodes’ output might be able to be controlled with thought, and it turns out it can.

This is very different than the typical brain-computer interface, which uses electroencephalography (EEG). Basically, an EEG is a helmet that oozes tricolor pasta:

But an eletrocorticograph (ECoG, pronounced “eecog”), like the one used for this experiment, sits on the brain itself, like this:



Brainloop is a brain-computer interface that senses a user’s thoughts about motor commands (e.g., “move left hand”), and uses them to control software. The demo is beautiful and engaging simply because it shows a user controlling Google Earth. In past demos of brain-computer interfaces I’ve seen, the user is usually doing visually boring things like moving a cursor or surfing the web. Using the same type of input to control Google Earth makes it spectacular.

Note to self: when out to impress with a new input device, try to design the demo to include flying around the globe.

(via Smashing)