Saturday, January 31, 2009

"Jacking into the Brain"

Body language reveals subtly what we want or feel, even when it contradicts how we are 'acting.' We are able to filter a stream of thoughts and desires and control which we translate into actions, for the most part.

Scientific American published an article about interfacing the brain with prosthetics etc. and possible future ability to interface the brain with computers.
From the site:
  • Futurists and science-fiction writers speculate about a time when brain activity will merge with computers.
  • Technology now exists that uses brain signals to control a cursor or prosthetic arm. How much further development of brain-machine interfaces might progress is still an imponderable.
  • It is at least possible to conceive of inputting text and other high-level information into an area of the brain that helps to form new memories. But the technical hurdles to achieving this task probably require fundamental advances in understanding the way the brain functions.

In the meantime, with our brains hooked up to an interface, how consciously could we control it? It might be most interesting to see what our minds would unconsciously do.

I first became aware of brain-machine interfaces in the 'real' world through my friends at False Profit Labs, who are always doing some crazy, mad-scientist fire-art, in this case, using a prototype for a brain-wave-reading video game interface to control flame effects. They call it Pyrocranium:

So far the controller is not on the market, but it's only a matter of time.

Video games are part pedagogy, teaching, among other things, eye-hand coordination (or eye-feet for DDR). Would a brain-wave video game controller teach focus and concentration?

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