There is an exciting trend developing in 2012. New algorithms for brain computer interface devices, that will benefit future medical patients, have also been some of the most-shared online news items in neuroscience over the past few months. While many of these devices have been in development for years – some, for over a decade – it seems like this technology has finally found it’s time and voice.
1// The Race For The First Commercial Bionic Eye
A few weeks ago on our Twitter account, we shared a news piece about researchers at Monash University in Australia. Discovery News had reported on their innovative work creating a computer chip which could potentially help the blind regain sight. This would be done with the assistance of wireless glasses synced with the users’ brain waves, and then transmitted from the implanted chip. More than a month later, a similarly inspiring story from Oxford Eye Hospital, where a team has implanted the first 3mm microchip to restore limited vision in two (previously) blind patients. The microchip has been in development for close to a decade, and was “switched on” this month in these two patients for the first time.
The results from both stories are awe-inspiring. Read more here
2// New Vernacular To Talk About BCI: A “Natural User Interface”
In a recent article on Midsize Insider, a small business thought leadership blog, author Deborah Aks suggests the term ‘natural user interface’ to describe future human – computer exchanges. Similar to this analogy below:
“Just 15 years ago, it was not hard to find people unfamiliar with using a computer mouse (as I discovered when teaching students computer-based classes). Today, this would be unheard of. Both young and old are intimately familiar and at ease with the mouse, so much so that the word “mouse,” easily conjures up an impression of a computer device rather than a rodent”
I suspect we will see more news articles like this in abundance. The distinction between current technical limitations, to future objectives and their applications, are necessary along with a vernacular to discuss them. A generally accepted social definition that allows these interfaces to permeate our day-to-day vocabulary with ease, such as the computer mouse has for the last 15 years. These are necessary as brain computer interfaces become commercially viable, and start with suggestions like the one from Aks’.
Read the full article here
3// New Algorithms Can Distinguish Between Different Mental States in Sleep
Some amazing innovations are happening in the Mediterranean Sea. The University of Malta has formed a small team of researchers to study and write new algorithms for brain computer interfaces. The team (Owen Falzon, Tracey Camilleri, and Kenneth Camilleri) have found ways to distinguish between a users different mental states in the various stages of sleep. Two of the phases of activity this new algorithm can detect are a sleep spindle and K complex, but the difference from other sleep labelling practices is that it labels in real time.
Read more here
The InteraXon news roundup is published weekly, every Sunday night, to recap trends and breaking news in the world of brain computer interfaces and thought controlled computing. Do you have a story you’d like to submit or share? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org (subject line “News Roundup”) or leave a comment here.