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Does BCI technology have the potential to replace the standard methods of Human Computer Interaction?
- BCI (Brain-Computer Interface)
- Human Computer Interaction
- The effect of implanted interfaces (anything that is connected directly to our nervous system) i.e. Brain-Computer Interfaces.
- How will BCIs effect the psyche of humans?
- BCIs and helping paralyzed/disabled people.
- How will errors be handled?(Incorrect actions, actions not meant to be done)
- Does BCI technology have the potential to replace the standard methods of Human Computer Interaction?
Monkey can receive BCI input
Unravelling the Intricacy of the Brain
Brain Controller Prosthetic Arms
InterAxon - Toronto Based Company that is Implementing this Technology
Prioritized Note Record
Questions & Answer
How does the Brain actually Interface with BCI's?
Research on Electroencephalography (EEG)
EEG’s are sensors that can detect brain activity produced by neurons in the human brain. Multiple EEG’s are required to accurately measure the true electrical output of the human brain. EEG technology is actively being used in the health sector to diagnose victims of epileptic seizures and various other conditions that deal with the human brain.
EEG also has some characteristics that compare favorably with behavioral testing:
§ EEG can detect covert processing (i.e., processing that does not require a response)
§ EEG can be used in subjects who are incapable of making a motor response
§ Some ERP components can be detected even when the subject is not attending to the stimuli
§ Unlike other means of studying reaction time, ERPs can elucidate stages of processing (rather than just the final end result)
This process involves placing many electrodes on the scalp. The scalp has to be prepared by applying a light abrasion to its surface. Each electrode is connected to an amplifier which amplifies the electricity produced in the brain. This analog signal is then converted to a digital signal by digitizing the output. The electrical output has to be filtered so that the intended results are read and are not clouded by clumps of data. The resultant information can be read and used by the computer through Brain Computer Interfaces.
Research on Neuroplasticity
Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain to structurally and functionally change itself. This ability allows humans to effectively overcome damage to certain parts of their brain. It also brings to knowledge that there is not one specific region of the brain responsible for a certain sense. Neuroplasticity allows humans to develop new habits based on their experiences and thus exemplifies the ability of the brain to dynamically evolve over time.
Research on Monkeys
There has been considerable research on monkeys that has yielded results. These results include observations of change the neurological pathways of their brains. This evidence has concluded that the brain truly does have elasticity.
Testing on Humans
Neuroplasticity has been proven in humans as well. More evidently in blind people who through the use of machinery have been able to see. Here is an example of this experiment: “machine was one of the first and boldest applications of neuroplasticity.” The patient sat in an electrically stimulated chair that had a large camera behind it which scanned the area, sending electrical signals of the image to four hundred vibrating stimulators on the chair against the patient’s skin. The six subjects of the experiment were eventually able to recognize a picture of the supermodel Twiggy. (Doidge, Norman (2007). The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the frontiers of brain science. New York: Viking. ISBN 9780670038305.) Has this Technology been successful in practice?
- Animal Testing: Monkeys
- First trials have been done where a monkey was able to not only control an avatar on screen but also receive tactile information from that avatar.
- Testing on Humans
- The biggest program to date for human prosthetics and BCIs is the Robotic Program of DARPA. It has created a robot prosthetic arm with the same number of degrees of freedom as a real arm that is controlled via the subject by wires connected to their nerves. Work is now being done to get rid of the wires and transfer the commands wirelessly with a BCI.
Is this technology capable of scaling? Right now we have can handle simple interactions with BCIs but what about more complex ones such as picking out an exact thought?
- The limits of conventional technology such as EEG and MRI
- EEG and MRI are not very exact; they are more of an overall measure of the activity of the brain.
- MRI can only detect what areas of the brain are activated and at what level they are being activated too.
- EEG can only detect the electromagnetic field that is being generated by the brain. What is happening in the brain is then inferred from this. It does not get down to the basics of the brain.
- New research and technologies that can address this
- Work is being done to determine the exact neural circuits that are activated when the brain is working.This is done by altering the genetic code of the neurons to be activated when a blue light is shone onto it. This hows promise on the path to understanding the brain fully because it would allow us to create complex bci’s that understand the nature of the neural circuits of the brain and would work deeply with the neural circuits of the brain. Also, work is being done on creating neurons that react to orange light as well, effectively making blue on and orange off. This would allow us to extract a binary code from the brain i.e. the software that it runs on.
- US Army is developing for use in the air force to increase pilot response time.
- Some systems are limited to the use of human movement since actions use specific brain signals.
- Emotions are a subject for concern since emotions alter patterns in signals.
- Scope of BCI abilities(fields of interest ex. Military, Medical, Commercial, Entertainment etc.)
Human Computer Interaction Vs Brain Computer Interfaces
- Arguments for replacement
- Arguments against
- Ethical Issues as defined by Wikipedia
- Obtaining informed consent from people who have difficulty communicating
- Personal responsibility
- Mind-reading and privacy
- Use of the technology in advanced interrogation techniques by governmental authorities
- Selective enhancement and social stratification
- Cultural Acceptance
- Ethical Issues as defined by Wikipedia
- Adaptation between human and computer; will burden be on computer or human to learn how to interact?
- Response time algorithms needs to be improved for any possible usage.
- Information transportation: can this information being sent be used without wires ie. Wireless.