What is a Brain Computer Interface?
A brain computer interface is a device which allows people with cognitive or motor impairments to control computers and other devices. BCIs make use of different combinations of sensors, recording techniques as well as signal processing algorithms and machine learning to translate brain signals into operating commands. They can control a wide range of devices, such as the computer monitors https://hive-eu.org/exploring-noninvasive-brain-stimulation-methods that display cursors, wheelchairs and robotic arm.
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 that can detect the presence of brain activity and software converts them into operating commands.
In many BCI systems the user has to go through an iterative process of training to to produce signals that the system recognizes. For instance, in a BCI that is specifically designed to type letters the user has to imagine moving his or her left or right hand.
The most exciting BCI innovations are implantable or invasible devices that record directly on neural tissue, instead of the scalp. These devices are more accurate than noninvasive BCIs however, they require surgery and are not without risk.
Invasive BCIs are still in the very early stages of testing and it is essential that patients who undergo this procedure fully are aware of the potential dangers and benefits of this procedure. BCIs can read neural signals that carry sensitive information about health and behavior. Security and privacy of data is also a major concern. Some people oppose the technology based on ethical concerns in fear that other people could hack into and control their minds.