Human Brain-Computer Interface
Let’s face it, the 102 button keyboard is the probably most inefficient method for converting human ideas into written sentences.
Now, from Germany’s Fraunhoffer Institute in Berlin comes a human brain-computer interface that converts your thoughts into motions on a computer screen.
Looking like it came straight from a sci-fi horror movie; the device is worn on the scalp and features 128 electrodes that monitor the electromagnetic waves generated by the brain. It takes an hour to place the headset in the correct position, and formidable computing power is necessary to detect and decode signals from the maelstrom of noise that’s produced as brainwaves by the human mind – like trying to listen to a whisper in a hurricane.
With training and practice, it’s possible to control the motion of a cursor key on a screen.
The device has taken two years to develop and has reached a point where a user can write a sentence in 5 to 10 minutes.
Clearly the device is still in its infancy, but 10 minutes to compose a sentence would not be a long time for some severely disabled people who haven’t been able to communicate in years.
It’s hoped that one day, advances in computing power would enable the device to be responsive enough to be able to react in real-time to human emotions.
One thing concerns me though. Freudian slips on the keyboard are one thing, but the idea of my darkest, innermost thoughts appearing on a monitor for the entire world to see, doesn’t appeal.
I wonder what would appear on the screen if, say, George Bush tried it on.