Tag Archive for 'brain-computer interface'

Hacking Your Brain

BCI research is important work (see here). The availability of reasonably priced hardware and general purpose APIs has made it easy to investigate many aspects of how EEG processing of can be used to control the external environment.

The extrapolation of this work into the concept of mind reading software appears to be inevitable, but even after all these years, is still annoying. The latest incarnation of this is based on reputable work at Universities of Oxford and Geneva, and the University of California, Berkeley:  Hackers backdoor the human brain, successfully extract sensitive data.

To start with, finding a correlation between P300 responses and a person’s image recognition — by 15% – 40% compared to random guessing — isn’t exactly earth shattering.  Also, note that P300 is an average of multiple evoked responses. This requires many repetitions of the stimulus (16 times in this study) to reduce the noise enough and see the signal at all.  As a practical matter, this is a really long way from brain malware.

Checkout Computers can read your mind. Still amazing!

UPDATE 8/21/12:

Here’s the graphic from Hacking the Human Brain? Not As Impossible As You Think about the same research:

I didn’t realize there was a whole website for “NEWS ABOUT BRAIN-COMPUTER INTERFACES (BCI), MIND-CONTROLLED GADGETS & BIOFEEDBACK” — interesting stuff.

The BCI X Prize

As announced at a recent MIT workshop: The BCI X PRIZE: This Time It’s Inner Space:

The Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) X PRIZE will reward nothing less than a team that provides vision to the blind, new bodies to disabled people, and perhaps even a geographical “sixth sense” akin to a GPS iPhone app in the brain.

As I’ve discussed many times (e.g. BCI: Brain Computer Interface), “mind reading” with EEG is a huge challenge. Another hurtle they have to overcome:

The foundation must court donors to make the $10 million+ prize a reality. Once funding is secured,…

That will be the easy part.

The problem with the X Prize incentive approach is one of expectations.  If people believe that Avatar-like advances (“new bodies”) is a realisitic result, they will be sorely disappointed.

Even though I’m a certified “mind reading” skeptic I think great BCI strides will inevitably be made. The good news is that these innovations will provide numerous benefits for handicapped individuals.

UPDATE (2/5/10): Here’s a great example: Technology Behind Second Sight Retinal Prosthesis

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