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ACM TechNews

Brain-Computer Interfaces Are Already Here


BrainGate, a consortium of researchers from universities including Stanford, Brown, and Case Western Reserve, has given a dozen patients the ability to control a cursor just by thinking about it.

A growing number of university scientists, government agencies, and startups are attempting to develop brain-computer interfaces.

Credit: Mark Hanlon/Stanford University

A growing number of university scientists, government agencies, and startups are attempting to make thought-controlled sense, control, communication, and action a reality by developing brain-computer interfaces (BCIs).

For example, the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is underwriting nine BCI projects slated for clinical trials in three to five years. Justin Sanchez with DARPA's Biological Technologies Office expects medical device makers will be able to apply BCI hardware to a broad spectrum of projects, such as restoring movement to paralysis victims by circumventing damaged nerve connections.

Meanwhile, the development of sensors and actuators that enable quadriplegics to feel and manipulate objects would serve to facilitate the integration of human beings and exoskeletons into fully functioning cyborgs.

In addition, BCI innovation could lead to the ability to enhance human senses to such a degree that a person could feel sensations from, as well as command, a remote machine.

From Bloomberg
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