Continuing with the discussion earlier, lets proceed with Brain Computer Interfaces.
A Brain Computer Interface(BCI) is a direct communication pathway between the brain and an external device.
How BCIs work:
- Measure the electrical potential of the brain
- Decode the signal
- Use the decoded signal to control an external device
- Measure a physical signal
- Encode the signal into an electrical pattern
- Electrically stimulate the brain
BCIs are very much applicable for sensory substitution.
Sensory substitution means transforming the characteristics of one sensory modality into stimuli of another sensory modality. Sensory substitution systems can help handicapped people by restoring their ability to perceive a certain defective sensory modality by using sensory information from a functioning sensory modality.For example, to use the tongue in place of the eye as we are going to see in the following vision substitution system:
BrainPort is an example of an electro-tactile vision substitution system.
- A digital video camera
- A tongue simulator array
- A base unit
- Signals that convey non-tactile(tactile referring to the sense of touch), in our case visual, information to a person by applying painless electric currents to the tongue at precise locations according to an encoded pattern.
How it works:
- Visual information is collected from the head mounted camera and fed to the base unit.
- The base unit translates the visual information into a simulation pattern.
- A strong signal is applied for every corresponding white pixel, a medium-strength signal for every corresponding gray pixel and no signal for corresponding black pixels.
- In short, patterns of light are tracked by the camera and transformed into electric signals which represent those patterns of light. These signals reach a person’s tongue and in this way, the person’s tongue is receiving image data.
- Considered the safest and easiest because there is no surgery involved as the signals are read directly from the brain’s scalp.
Here we’re dealing with the brain’s electrical signals.
Signals are nothing but any quantity measurable through time or over space(or both). We observe the signal in both the time domain and the frequency domain and note the features of the signal we are interested in.
BCIs have already made their way into brightening the lives of people with disabilities and now they are also making their way into Gaming!!!
Emotiv Systems is an Australian electronics company developing brain–computer interfaces based on electroencephalography (EEG) technology. The company was founded in 2003 by four scientists and executives: neuroscientist Professor Allan Snyder, chip-designer Neil Weste, and technology entrepreneurs Tan Le and Nam Do.
You can visit their official website at emotiv.com
The NeuroGaming 2014 Conference and Expo was held on May 7-8, 2014 at City View – Metreon, San Francisco. Here is one of the many videos which is about how new sensory gaming technologies like neurosensing, gesture and voice control, haptics and other new sensors are transforming game play. This expert panel shares their creative insights into where these technologies are headed and how they will converge to create new gaming experiences.
You can head to www.neurogamingconf.com for more such interesting information.
In my next and final part of the discussion on Neural Engineering, I’ll talk about Brain Hacking 🙂 ! So stay tuned 🙂 !