The Emergent Brain

Connecting dots for a global brain.

Posts Tagged ‘Brainwaves

Interaction of brain devices

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Following up on recent developments in reading brainwaves, the issue of a common platform for these brain devices is currently being discussed. A highly readable article in Technology Review highlights the benefits of a common platform:

“These scientific issues can be disambiguated by rudimentary brain coprocessors, built with readily available off-the-shelf components, that use recording technologies to assess how a given neural circuit perturbation alters brain dynamics. Such explorations may begin to reveal principles governing how best to control a circuit–revealing the neural targets and control strategies that most efficaciously lead to a goal brain state or behavioral effect, and thus pointing the way to new therapeutic strategies.”

An argument not mentioned in the article, but raised by Mindhacks, is increased security. However, with current developments of army research in the field one might ask if one standard platform is a realistic thought if the plan is to actively lead brain activity from the outside.

It seems that in these systems built to alter brain activity, we will necessarily see two different developments: Outside control via usable devices like headsets that can easily be shared, changed and synced, and inside control via planted devices that can interact with other components but might not necessarily be built to be an open system sharing its data with others.  While the latter could thus be used to “control the nodes”, it is the former that can enhance the nodes in a collective brain and thus lead to a more intelligent approach towards collective intelligence sharing and cooperation.

Written by emergentbrain

23/09/2010 at 14:06

Reading brainwaves

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Every since I tried the game BrainBall at Sweden’s Expo 2000 pavilion I got hooked with products measuring and reading brainwaves via EEG to produce different tasks. In the given example, two players facing opposing sides of a long table get hooked to a headband containing three electrodes that measure who is more relaxed. A ball in the middle of the table moves towards the person more stressed and the aim of the game is to push the ball completely to the opponent’s end.

While there are playful variants that base their technology on EEG – Mindflex is the most promising mainstream approach so far even though it does not actually use EEG and thus seems useless – recent times have seen serious progress in reading human minds solely by measuring brain waves. Scientific American has a piece on recent developments in reading the mind:

“The commercial products, however, cannot be so invasive. These companies use an electroencephalography cap (or EEG) that is placed on top of your head, and reads your overall brain state. Here the results are fairly crude. We can detect if one is calm, angry, excited or distracted, and we can manipulate those brain states to activate switches, like move a ball forward and back. But if we want to go beyond any binary on/off activation, however, we need to get deeper into the brain.”

The author Christie Nicholson is right in that getting deeper into the brain leads to astonishing results, such as reading paralyzed patients’  word chart choices, but one should not underestimate the power of simple headsets reading your state of mind and allowing you to control objects in easy ways. All said, Tan Le demonstrated a headset in a recent TED Talk that is capable of doing just this:

“Tan Le’s astonishing new computer interface reads its user’s brainwaves, making it possible to control virtual objects, and even physical electronics, with mere thoughts (and a little concentration). She demos the headset, and talks about its far-reaching applications.”

Watch the video here or below:

The future is closer than we think indeed!

Written by emergentbrain

21/09/2010 at 12:45