Brainwaves are hard for researchers to measure with accuracy. Why? Because of all those squiggly folds. The folds are where your mental capacity lives - as you learn new stuff and keep your brain active, it accommodates any increases in mental capacity by adding folds. These folds - and the functional part of your brain - are distributed across the brain's outer surface; and everyone's folding is different, even identical twins. While ingenious, the individual folding of the cortex means that two people can have a signal start in the same part of their brains, but end up in completely different places on the surface. Inconsistent surface signals have made it especially challenging for researchers trying to create equipment to read these signals with any accuracy. To solve this, a company called Emotiv Lifescience devised an algorithm that unfolds the cortex and maps a signal closer to its source. Their technology works for a mass population, costs only a few hundred dollars and once plopped onto the user’s head, requires only that they can visualize something clearly. This affordable and non-invasive technology is replacing cumbersome methods which insert stuff into the brain.
Researchers at Keio University recently developed the way-dorky wearable camera-headset at right that analyzes brainwaves to detect emotions; when they exceed 60 on a scale of 1 to 100, the neurocam then records the memory, timestamps & locations it & makes it ready to socially-share.
At the University of Buffalo, an Emotiv brain/computer interface was used to control a robotic arm, directing it to insert a wooden peg into a hole and then rotate the peg. And it’s so easy, even monkeys can do it. Simian test subjects were trained at the Duke University Center for Neuroengineering to control a pair of virtual arms with their thoughts. “When we looked at the properties of individual neurons,” observed one of the researchers, “we noticed that simply summing up the neuronal activity correlated to movements of the right and left arms did not allow us to predict what the same individual neurons...would do when both arms were engaged together.” What I found even more fascinating was that after the monkeys transitioned from using joysticks to thought-based control, their brains appear to have incorporated the avatar-arms into their own internal maps of their bodies.
This was exerpted from my new book, The Future of You (2014), available as part of an awesome bundle called The Superheroes of Health - which is available here.
Here is the podcast I recorded about this - Episode 72: Read Thoughts, Record Video, Socially Share
Music: Kevin MacLeod, Incompetech.com
- Lesley Scott