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Brain Computer Interface

Wearables

Workout brain and body with the XWave Sport brainwave interface headband

California-based company PLX Devices first came to our attention in 2010 with its XWave brainwave interface accessory for iDevices that read a wearer’s brainwave information. It appears the call center headset-like form factor may not have appealed to many as the device no longer appears on the company’s website, but it has been replaced with a similar device in a design that should make the wearer much less self-conscious – a brain computer interface headband.Read More

Robotics

Paralyzed woman uses thought-controlled robotic arm to drink coffee

Last April, for the first time since she became paralyzed 15 years ago, a 58 year-old woman was able to get herself a drink of coffee – she did so via a robotic arm, which was controlled by her thoughts. Although that rather astounding feat took place over a year ago, it was just made public today, in a report published in the journal Nature. The woman was a volunteer test subject, in a clinical trial of the experimental BrainGate neural interface system. Although still very much in development, the system could someday restore mobility to people who have suffered paralysis or limb loss. Read More

Electronics

MIT's wearable brain scanner monitors your cognitive state, handles your workload if needed

As machines get more and more sophisticated, the mental capacity of their human overlords stays at a static (albeit seemingly impressive) level, and therefore slowly starts to pale in comparison. The bandwidth of the human brain is not limitless, and if an overloaded brain happens to be overseeing machines carrying out potentially dangerous tasks, you can expect trouble. But why had we built the machines in the first place, if not to save us from trouble? Brainput, a brain-computer interface built by researchers from MIT and Tufts University, is going to let your computer know if you’re mentally fit for the job at hand. If it decides your brain is overloaded with tasks, it will help you out by handling some of them for you.Read More

Urban Transport

"Board of Awesomeness" evolves into mind-controlled "Board of Imagination"

Chaotic Moon Labs drew a lot of attention last month at CES 2012 with its motion controlled "Board of Awesomeness," a longboard that a rider controls by gesturing at a Kinect sensor on the front. Apparently though, that was just the beginning. So, how could the studio possibly improve on a skateboard that starts and stops just by having a person move their hands? By not having the rider move at all. The latest creation, the aptly named "Board of Imagination," moves forward just by having a user think about it while wearing an Emotiv EPOC headset. Read More

Military

Future wars may be waged with mind-controlled weaponry, Royal Society warns

Neuroscience has ramifications for future warfare, and the scientific community must be more aware. So says a new report published by the Royal Society titled Neuroscience, conflict and security, which cites interest in neuroscience from the military community, and identifies particular technologies that may arise. Among them is the potential for "neural interface systems" (NIS) to bring about weapons controllable by the human mind, though the reports also discusses more benign military applications of neuroscience, such as fostering a revolution in prosthetic limbs.Read More

Science

BodyWave lets you control a PC with your mind - without a headset

A bio-feedback armband called BodyWave is the first of its kind to measure brainwave activity through the body, not the scalp. Instead of an EEG headset recording a user's concentration level, the Bodywave reads brainwaves at the arm by measuring the electric current given off by neurons firing in the brain. Bundled with an interactive software package called Play Attention, it reportedly enables interactive feedback and training towards peak mental performance. Apart from the obvious potential in sport, its ability to train attention and teach stress-control in mobile situations (much less obtrusively than wearing a headset) opens up wider potential. It has already found applications in education, industry and the military as well as in improving the lives of people with disabilities like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Read More

Science

Scientists reconstruct visual stimuli by reading brain activity

In the 1983 film Brainstorm, Christopher Walken played a scientist who was able to record movies of people's mental experiences, then play them back into the minds of other people. Pretty far-fetched, right? Well, maybe not. Utilizing functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and computer models, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have been able to visually reconstruct the brain activity of human subjects watching movie trailers - in other words, they could see what the people's brains were seeing.Read More

Science

I think, therefore I move - 'brain cap' turns thought into motion

Researchers at the University of Maryland (UMD) continue to advance the development of their “brain cap” technology that allows users to turn their thoughts into motion. The team has already had success in using EEG brain signals captured from the cap’s 64 electrodes attached to users’ scalps to reconstruct 3D hand movements and to control a computer cursor with their thoughts, and now the team has successfully reconstructed the complex 3D-movements of the ankle, knee and hip joints during treadmill walking. The aim is to provide a non-invasive technology that can return motor function to victims of paralysis, injury or stroke.Read More

Science

Implant could wirelessly relay brain signals to paralyzed limbs

For a great number of people with paralyzed limbs, the reason that they can’t move the arm or leg in question is because the “move” command isn’t able to reach from their brain to the limb. This is often due to damage to the nervous system, or to the brain, although the limb itself is still perfectly functional ... so it could still move, if only there was a way of getting the signal to it. Well, one might be on its way. Scientists at the University of Michigan have developed an implant known as the BioBolt, that wirelessly transmits neural signals from the brain to a computer. In the future, that computer could hopefully then relay them onto a formerly-paralyzed limb. Read More

Electronics Feature

Using our brains: Neuromarketing, no-hands gaming and the arrival of the EEG headset

Until recently a purely lab based technology, brainwave (electroencephalograph or EEG) headsets are trickling into the marketplace in a number of different guises. But what exactly do these devices do, how do they differ from each other and - with potential applications ranging from medicine to gaming and market research – who will use them and for what purpose? Dr. Max Sutherland takes a closer look.Read More

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