By Andrew Nusca
Posting in Technology
Users will be able to control computers using only their brains thanks to chips embedded in them, Intel researchers said.
Users will be able to control computers using only their brains thanks to chips embedded in them, researchers said.
Scientists an Intel research lab in Pittsburgh, Pa. are working to read human brain waves to operate electronics using sensors implanted in people's brains, according to a Computerworld report.
The move could eventually lead to the ability to manipulate your computer, television and mobile phone without lifting a finger.
"We're trying to prove you can do interesting things with brain waves," Intel research scientist Dean Pomerleau told Computerworld. "Eventually people may be willing to be more committed ... to brain implants. Imagine being able to surf the Web with the power of your thoughts."
Intel researchers are teaming up with scientists from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh to figure out how to decode human brain waves. The team is using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI) machines to map brain patterns by monitoring blood flow to areas of the brain that results from thinking about certain things.
The brain exhibits response patterns for words and images. The researchers are attempting to build technology that can detect and interpret brain waves and, in turn, be used to manipulate an electronic device such as a computer.
For now, that technology is in the form of a headset. But a sensor meant to be implanted into the brain will soon replace it.
It's not the first time scientists have attempted to tap the brain for information -- two years ago, U.S. and Japanese scientists used a monkey brain to control a robot with the hope that advances would help paralyzed people walk again.
But deciphering the complexities of human brain waves is the biggest hurdle of all. It's a bit like digging around a 1-acre supercomputer with hundreds of thousands of processors and trying to figure out what it's doing at every turn.
Nov 20, 2009
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Imagine some people using these implants to improve their position on the job market. Being able to control mouse and keyboard with their brain and being able to be the better information worker. People with resistance against the technology will need to follow as their jobs would become insecure. Anyone still believes that there's a free will?
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Think of it. Haven't studies shown that males think of sex like 20 times an hour? Combine that, with a hypothetical Google search interface that finds images online based on an image you give it, and behold... You'll NEVER get porn off your PC.
These implants are our first attempts at writing info onto the brain true? Meanwhile. Read-only has a much earlier eta. Whatever is done now Read-only will surely be surpassed later Read&Write. Then we fully address the issues of emergent Homo Sapien Cybernetica. See my blog for a present day scenario.
In response to MKraemer: given the amount of CRAP that people install on their computers and iPhones. . .can you imagine how bad people would screw their brains up with that kind of ability? "Let me see, free downloads for your brain. . .Algegra, no. Philosophy, boring! Oh, no way! A fart sound maker! Sweet!
Wow, wouldn't it be amazing to download a language pack to your brain and instantly know how to speak any language you choose or download a mathmatics pack and instantly be able to pass every college level math exam with flying colors. Download a chef pack from FoodTV and BAM! you're cooking like Emerald. Won't it be grand? ;-)
I'm actually sitting here considering being a test subject for this... To be one of the first to control computers with my brain... through Bluetooth, of course.
Autism, Paralysis, Stroke, Cerebral Palsy, and other medical maladies ad infinitum. It is obvious that some people don't immediately think of those with unfortunate disorders that could use this bit of technology to enrich their lives. I do acknowledge the potential for misuse. It is change that frightens people the most.
Having learned a considerable amount about concepts like neuroplasticity and neuropathic pain, of I've come to the conclusion that once you've trained your brain to do something, it is hard to get it to never do it again. This comes from the notion that once you create pathways that facilitate a particular human behavior (or pain sensation) then that pathway will spontaneously become active throughout the day. Simply, if you train your brain to do something, you create pathways, those pathways will remain (to some degree) even when you 'stop training'. Some people will tell you that the brain continually 're-organizes' itself and that the pathways that have been created will be 'erased' at some point. While some aspect of this 'theory' is probably true, the evidence is (ask people how suffer from neuropathic pain) that nothing is truly erased. Now consider the hot topic: Brain Implants, or simply, non-invasively (via scalp electrodes) interfacing our brain with a computer. i.e., using our brains and reorganizing our pathways for functions that are no longer 'biological'. What such an interface requires is a portion of our brain to re-wire itself (based on what we are attempting to do with the computer). This re-wiring *may* come at the cost of other brain functions that define us as human beings: i.e., language skills, motor skills, etc.. I want to see people describing both the possible advantages of such human-machine interfaces (brain-computer interfaces) and the possible disadvantages. Myself, I find the idea of an interface scary- not because it might be considered strange or unusual-- *because I might lose a part of myself.*
We are closing jails and using teathers to track convicts. I can see this technology being reverse engineered and sneaking in the backdoor through a positive use, controlling violent criminals. Then applying it to alcoholics, then dissidents, then anyone who doesn't agree with the powers that be.
This sort of stuff is already happening. Check out the Emotiv Epoc brain computer interface: http://www.emotiv.com/epoc.html
If all an implant gets us is the equivalent of moving a mouse cursor around or typing on a keyboard, I can't imagine this being worth the effort, expense, and danger except for people with paralysis. On the other hand, if this gives us new ways of dealing with the vast amounts of data computers make accessible, it could represent a revolution. The most obvious at present would be tying directly into the visual cortex to give someone a view of cyberspace we often see in movies. But there could be more subtle and powerful ways, such as tying computer data into the centers of the brain that do intuitive reasoning. However, these kinds of interfaces would require massive invasion of the brain, and I can't see that for several more decades at least.
Now we are going to need anti-virus for our head! You'll have to have a firewall too, or the Chinese could reverse engineer it so they control your brain! HAA!