What is a Brain Computer Interface?

A brain computer interface (BCI) is a device that enables those with cognitive or motor disabilities to operate computers or other devices. BCIs translate brain signals using a variety and recording techniques, a signal-processing algorithm and machine learning. They are able to control a range of devices, such as the computer monitors that display cursors as well as wheelchairs and robotic arms.

Most BCIs measure activity from the scalp, such as electroencephalographic (EEG) or functional near-infrared imaging (fNIRS) signaling. The signals are recorded by a sensor which detects neuronal activity. Software converts them to operating commands.

In many BCI systems, the user must undergo a process of learning how to generate signals that the system can recognize. For example in a BCI that is designed to type letters the user will have to imagine moving his or her left or right hand.

The most exciting BCI developments involve implantable or surgical systems that record directly from the neural tissue rather than the scalp. These devices are more precise than noninvasive BCIs, but they also require surgical intervention and carry some dangers.

Invasive BCIs are still in the very early stages of testing, and it is critical that patients who undergo this procedure are aware of the potential risks and benefits of this procedure. BCIs can read neural signals that carry sensitive information about health and behavior. Security of data and privacy is an additional issue. Some people hive-eu.org/linking-the-human-mind-to-a-machine/ are opposed to the technology on ethical grounds because they fear that others might hack into their minds and take control of them.