Future Cinema

Course Site for Future Cinema 1 (and sometimes Future Cinema 2: Applied Theory) at York University, Canada

Computer users move themselves with the mind

Excerpted from Nature.com

Computer users move themselves with the mind
Michael Hopkin
Published online: 27 September 2005

Computer scientists have created a hat that can read your thoughts. It allows you to stroll down a virtual street. All you have to do is think about walking.

Called a brain-computer interface, the device detects activity in certain brain areas linked to movement, and uses the signals to mimic that movement in a virtual world. The technology could one day help paralysed patients to move robotic arms, or help sufferers of motor neuron disease to type out words on a virtual keyboard.

“Just thinking about movement activates the same neurons as actually moving,” explains Gert Pfurtscheller of Graz University of Technology in Austria, who has been working on the device for around four years. By picking up on these bursts of nerve activity, the computer can decide whether you are thinking about moving your hands or feet, and react accordingly.

The technology detects brain waves by using electrodes placed at strategic points on the scalp; they are positioned over brain areas known to be involved in moving specific body parts. The computer can then distinguish between signals corresponding to different types of movement.

Previously, accurate detection of local brain activity has required electrodes to be implanted in the brain. This technique has allowed recipients to control robots and even send e-mails (see “Paralysed man sends e-mail by thought “) . The new device, presented at the Presence 2005 technology meeting in London last week, achieves a similar feat using non-invasive methods.


Read full article here

Fri, October 21 2005 » Future Cinema, articles of interest, emerging technologies

One Response

  1. alan October 27 2005 @ 11:30 pm

    I love that the process of making cyber-telekenis has taken him “about 4 years.” How long will it take to hook up a ballistic missile to a disembodied cat brain? This technology moves so fast.