Brain-Computer interfaces (BCI) or Brain-Machine interfaces (BMI) are designed to enable a direct connection between the brain and a computer.
This is a powerful communication tool between users and systems. It does not require any external devices
or muscle intervention to issue commands and complete the interaction.
The Brain-Computer Interface aims to improve the detection and decoding of brain signals acquired by electroencephalogram (EEG).The field of BCI research and development has focused primarily on neuroprosthetics applications that aim at restoring damaged hearing, sight and movement.It has helped in restoring the movement ability for physically challenged or locked-in users and replacing lost motor functionality.
At present, most BCI applications focus on assistive care, providing an alternative communication medium for those who cannot use a keyboard or mouse, but applications have the potential to include any task that would benefit from interaction beyond the keyboard.
In last few years, BCI applications have come out of laboratories and hospitals to include non-medical applications.Early research used monkeys with implanted electrodes. The monkeys used a joystick to control a robotic arm. Scientists measured the signals coming from the electrodes.Eventually, they changed the controls so that the robotic arm was being controlled only by the signals coming form the electrodes, not the joystick.
BCI has been implemented in three ways:
1. Invasive, where BCIs are implanted directly into the grey matter of the brain during neurosurgery. Because they lie in the grey matter, invasive devices produce the highest quality signals of BCI devices but are prone to scar-tissue build-up, causing the signal to become weaker, or even non-existent, as the body reacts to a foreign object in the brain.
2. Partially invasive , where BCI devices are implanted inside the skull but rest outside the brain rather than within the grey matter. They produce better resolution signals than non-invasive BCIs where the bone tissue of the cranium deflects and deforms signals and have a lower risk of forming scar-tissue in the brain than fully invasive BCIs.
3. Non Invasive, where non-invasive neuroimaging technologies are used.Although they are easy to wear, non-invasive implants produce poor signal resolution because the skull
dampens signals, dispersing and blurring the electromagnetic waves created by the neurons.Although the waves can still be detected it is more difficult to determine the area of the brain that created them or the actions of individual neurons.
- Detection and diagnosis
- Neuromarketing and advertisement
- Games and entertainment
- Military and Sports
Though the future is very exciting and mystifying, but it’s a long road to travel.