Brain has always been a mystery for us. We have reached moon, Everest and where not, but brain is yet to be understood completely. We invented machines, robots to make our life simpler, but it would become simpler if we could do all those tasks just by thinking and transmitting signals from one brain to another with the help of signal processing!! That day is not far away, thanks to BCI (Brain Computer interface).
BCI is direct communication pathway between brain and an external device. In 1924, Hans Berger was first to discover electric activity in human brain that gave an edge to the signal processing to enter into the biology. After analyzing the interrelation between EEG’s with brain diseases, a new possibility of research of human brain through EEG opened up.
Some of the advantages EEG Signals has in BCI are that it’s non-invasive, portable and cost effective. One need not cut open the brain. Rhythmic activity in brain is influenced by level of alertness and mental state which is exploited while measuring EEG’s. Since signals are read from the surface, it also makes it prone to noise and results in poor signal resolution, blur and dispersion of the electromagnetic waves created by neurons. Still the cost and the fact that artifacts can be removed, make it top choice for BCI. However, recently using advanced functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and EEG, control of the flight of virtual helicopter was demonstrated using EEG’s.
BCI is a promising technology for people suffering from paralyses. It can be used to restore mobility in paralyzed limbs. By 2000, researchers had created a thought-translation device for completely paralyzed patients which allowed patients to select characters based on their thoughts. By 2008, researchers from Belgium, Spain and Switzerland created BCI that controlled a motorized wheel chair with high accuracy but it was not perfect.
Neuro gaming is another field where using BCI, a player interacts with the console without using controller. Music and scenery is adjusted according to the mood of player judge by his EEG, heart rate and cognitive state. This allows game play to be more realistic.
Undoubtedly, BCI-EEG is a prominent technology in the signal processing domain and will bring transformation in the field of medicine and our lives.