Emerging Technology: Brain-Computer Interface

July 16th, 2014
There’s a new emerging computer technology called brain-computer interface. A great example that forshadows this new technology is Siri for the iPhone. Siri allows us to ask our phones questions and receive answers. The ability to control a computer by using our mind is closer than we can imagine because the number of successful new products and research related to brain-computer interfaces is on the rise.
Brain-computer interface technology allows software to read and interpret signals directly from the brain. This is possible because our brains are filled with neurons that move when we think, feel, or remember something. When the neurons move, they are carried by small electric signals that move from neuron to neuron and scientists can detect those paths and signals to interpret what they mean. This new technology is the next step in healthcare.
 Quadriplegics, or people who have suffered from a stroke and are paralyzed, have had success with this new technology already. Recent studies have shown many successful stories of quadriplegics using brain-computer interfaces to control a robotic arm with their brain waves and even drink coffee from a cup. Brain-computer interface also shows promising signs in both preventing and delaying the onset of dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease in the elderly.
Research has even proved the possibility of using brain-computer interfaces to connect different brains together. Researchers at Duke University last year reported the brains connection of two mice over the Internet, where mice in different countries were able to cooperate to perform simple tasks together to obtain a reward.
Other than healthcare, many other companies are taking advantage of this new technology. For example, NeuroSky, a company based in San Jose, California released a Bluetooth-enabled headset that can monitor slight changes in brain waves, which allows people to play concentration-based games on computers and smartphones. Car manufacturers are exploring technologies that can detect when people are falling asleep while driving and will rattle the steering wheel to awaken the drivers. With so many different companies advancing this new technology, it could represent the next next breakthrough career opportunity.

-Leslie Tran
Intern at Ryzen Solutions

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