Updated: 11/24/2005; 11:34:42 PM.

General networking
Data network connectivity developments, networking business news, and related computing items.

daily link  Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Cap Harnesses Human Thought to Move PC Cursor: Study published in the Proceedings of the NAS:  "Scientists have developed a non-invasive brain-computer interface that enables a person to move a cursor across a computer screen just by thinking about it. .. Before the new finding, many researchers previously assumed that only invasive brain-computer interfaces, in which electrodes are surgically implanted into the brain, could control complex movements. ..

Of the four people who participated in the study, two had severe physical disabilities. The subjects wore the electrode caps, which analyzed electroencephalographic (EEG) activity (brain waves) recorded from their scalp. The electrodes, small metal disks about a quarter of an inch (three-fifths of a centimeter) wide, were placed over the sensory motor part of the brain.

At first, participants learned to use their thoughts to direct a cursor on a computer screen by imagining specific actions, from running to shooting baskets. As they became more comfortable with the technology, the subjects began to rely less on such imagery to direct the cursor. Eventually, the participants couldn't tell what they were thinking about to move the cursor; they simply moved it. ..

Each session lasted 24 minutes. It took participants two to three sessions to begin to acquire control of the cursor movement. After ten sessions, participants were able to hit the target on a computer screen about 80 percent of the time.

The two study participants with spinal cord injuries performed better than the uninjured participants, possibly reflecting greater motivation or injury-associated brain changes. ..

"The computer automatically adapts to the person using the system," Wolpaw said. "It is an interaction between two adaptive controllers—the system and the person using it." Wolpaw predicts future improvements of the non-invasive brain-computer interface will focus on three-dimensional movement. In the future, users may be able to operate a robotic arm that could pick things up, or they may be able to control a neural prosthesis in which electrodes implanted in a paralyzed limb may be stimulated to get the muscles to move."

  12:25:25 PM  permalink  

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Copyright 2005 © Ken Novak.
Last update: 11/24/2005; 11:34:42 PM.