Neuroscientist & Author

Muscling Up Brain-Computer Interfaces

The internet is abuzz with reports of neuroscientists linking the human brain to computers to eliminate the clickety keyboard and empower us to control personal electronic devices or manipulate robotic arms.  But the science beneath the sizzle doesn’t support all the sensational claims, and there are significant practical hurdles.

Unless you have a medical condition that can be helped by deep brain stimulation, or you need a prosthetic, would you want anyone to drill a hole through your skull to embed a computer chip in your brain?   It is also difficult to imagine a swimming cap studded with EEG electrodes becoming the next fashion rage, but even if wearing such a bizarre device in public did not provoke 911 calls, how much thinking zipping through the trillions of neural circuits inside your cerebral cortex can be gleaned from the weak electric fields swirling over your entire scalp?

Now a counter-intuitive new approach for a brain-computer interface (BCI) is being developed at a start-up company, CTRL-Labs, launched by the inventor of Microsoft Internet Explorer, Thomas Reardon, and his partners.  The device taps into your brain through your arm.

 

To read about it, see “Wristband Lets the Brain Control a Computer with a Thought and a Twitch,” on Scientific American.

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