A wise man once said, "As we thinketh we became". It justifyingly means, whatever our mind thinks turns into reality. The same principle is applied in the case of a Brain-Computer Interface commonly known as BCI. Brain-Computer Interface offers a direct communication pathway between the cortex of the brain and an external device. Brain-computer interface devices are systems responding to neural processes in the brain that generate or modify movements.
The key to the success of Brain-Computer Interface devices depends on the proper insight into
how a human brain controls the entire muscles and nervous systems by sending chemical and
electrical signals through neurons. Understanding this helps researchers to tap these signals
and use them to control artificial devices. Computers can differentiate the two types of brain
activity, imagining movement and non-imagining movement. So once the patterns in the activity of
brain cells are recognized by the sensor in a BCI device, they will be translated as an input
signal to the device.
Brain-computer interfaces can be either invasive or non-invasive. Invasive BCIs require surgical implantation of electrodes or other devices directly into the brain by neurosurgery. In general, invasive BCI is utilized in critical surgeries such as brain surgeries due to its high accuracy rates. Although It offers a wide range of functionalities, it has side effects due to the direct implantation in the brain. This lead to the preference for Non-invasive BCIs. Non-Invasive BCIs mostly use EEG signals that are probably placed on the scalp to record brain signals. Brain signals acquired by the EEG can then be processed and transmitted over the internet to any other device. Non-Invasive BCI leads to the evolution of BCI wearable gadgets.
Numerous researches are being conducted on BCIs and top companies are investing in this
technology. Medical experts have predicted that by 2040, Alzheimer's patients can be treated
with the help of BCI devices. Elon Musk announced a project named 'Neuralink', which will ensure
computer usage for paralyzed people by just communicating through the thoughts in their minds.
Facebook is also working on a project that enables users to type 100 words per minute using this technology. As Facebook 'suggests', the user has to think 100 words per minute, and the same will be displayed on the computer which is expected to replace manual typing.
The Brain-Computer Interface applications, to be precise, BCI wearable gadgets are predicted to make revolutionary changes globally in every major industry. Some of them already exist.
For example, A cochlear implant that helps to retain the hearing of many people is a BCI device that already exists, where the external sound is converted into electrical signals and sent to the brain.
Several games have been made with mind-reading techniques recently. Necomimi cat ear is a headband with a brain wave sensor and motorized cat-shaped ears that read the user's minds and changes according to their moods.
BCI wearable devices are expected to grow exponentially in the next few years. BCI devices
controlled by the human mind can help in creating prosthetic arms and limbs for disabled
individuals. Brain Customer Interface applications can even stimulate the retina of somebody who
has gone blind to the vision so provided is very rudimentary but does allow patients to identify
shapes and even large letters. BCI Communication devices will help hearing impaired and, mute
individuals communicate easily with others. Brain to Computer Interfaces further understands a
person’s moods by collecting brain signals for each emotion registered and thus aids in
practicing better mind control. BCI devices can even help in the prevention of smoking or
BCI devices help marketers to get real-time information and analytical data that help them understand their customers better. It saves time instead of asking a bunch of questions to different audiences to understand their preferences. With the data collected, they can show more personalized ads to the customer.
BCI wearable devices can alert sleepy drivers while driving. Some car manufacturers are researching BCI-enabled cars, which can read driver's minds and perform the desired action without delay during dangers, thus ensuring the safety of passengers.
The Brain to Computer applications has several limitations. The BCI systems are not
bidirectional, so they send signals and there are no proper inputs as of now. It demands a lot
of training from the users as they have to deal with the systems, a need to control their brain
activity, and hence it is time-consuming. The accuracy of BCI devices is still questionable
because of the complex nature of the human brain. Fatigue, environmental noises, and
concentration levels of an individual are also a challenge to obtaining brain signals
Apart from its limitations, Brain-Computer Interface has potential risks that can affect humans. Accessing a person's brain can be considered a violation of human rights. The possibility of getting a person's brain data can result in privacy risk and may be used for crimes. Stimulation of the deep brain in invasive BCI may cause psychological changes In a person. Also, the long-term effect on BCI in humans and their relatives is still unknown.
BCI is undoubtedly a revolutionary technology loaded with benefits in every field. BCI wearables can understand user intent through brain signals and convert them into output commands that achieve user goals. From providing real-time information and data analytics to providing prosthetic arms and limbs to disabled people, BCI systems will have a great impact on society as a whole.
On the flip side, it has its risks concerning privacy and health in patients. The developers and researchers should be aware of these risks while implementing these technologies and, also the concerned governments and organizations should regulate the laws regarding Brain-Computer Interface applications. This will ensure more advanced and cost-effective BCI wearable gadgets in the near future.
The future will consist of technology such as this with the enhancement of AI. This technology has been in existence for some time now, but its application is being brought to fruition recently. There is no denying that this technology has its ups and downs, but instead of avoiding it, the only thing to do is transcend into the new era.