brain-computer interface, human controlling IoT devices


January 22, 2016

Researchers at Brown University joined forces with a Utah-based company, Blackrock Microsystems, to create a brain-computer interface that lets you send commands to the Internet of Things around you.

The company is awaiting clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Once approved, the device begins testing on volunteers, and it will go on sale as one of the first digital health commercial devices that you’ll be able to buy from a digital health store.

smart, connected protective medical devices


A brain-computer interface can give paralysed people the power to control TVs, computers and wheelchairs with their thoughts. A device that let them run all IoT devices, home and at work. Allows them to control autonomous cars. Or even communicate with other people, across the world.

Inside the device is a wireless processor that costs about $15.000. Called the “Cereplex-W” CPU, it is not the first CPU for a brain-computer interface designed by BrainGate. A company that has as a primary goal the design of tech for physically challenged individuals.

But, this time the company went a step further with this device that lets them communicate and control connected devices through thought.

The wireless, 96-channel CerePlex W brain-computer interface is the first commercial device able to detect, digitise and convey a neural signal, via wireless to a receiver.

Similar Read: Top 10 Emerging Technologies That Will Transform Our Future

Yes, mind control and this is how it works. Your brain’s electric signals are collected through a cable connected on one side to a port on your skull and, on the other end, to the “signal processing interface.”

implantable brain-computer interface

That interface that “reads” your brain’s data is about the size of a soap bar. The “soap bar” is connected to the skull via wired electrodes to your brain.

Apart from reading the data from the brain, the interface also can amplify the faint electrical signals sent by your neurones. The electric signal is then sent to specific circuits that convert electricity in information.

You can say, somehow similar to the way your laptop transforms the Internet into data you see on your screen. Once the data is obtained, the device will send it from your brain to a radio device that can beam it to a receiver.

The data from the device travels at a speed of 48 megabits per second. In comparison, a line of 48 megabits per second is just as fast as a residential Internet connection in the U.S.

The device is powered by a battery, and it uses about 30 milliwatts of power. A mere fraction of what a smartphone uses these days.

This is not the first brain-computer interface. Scientists have designed wireless brain-computer interfaces before but, this is the first device able to send megabits of data, from your brain to a computer.

Although the new device can transmit 1TB of data per day, this is not a lot of data compared to what a brain generates, in a simple gesture for example.

There are billions of neurons in the human cortex and scientists have never measured more than 200 at the same time. We are using our brains as petabyte machines. By this standard, even 100 megabits per second is still low.

Still, this new head-mounted wireless device is a step forward in brain-computer interfaces. A big step towards a digital health world. A goal towards human-machine communication and even telepathy.

By miniaturising this technology, we’ll be able to implant it into the body one day. There will be no wires piercing through the skin. Without the wires, there will be no movement restrictions and no infections.

Similar Read: Top 10 Implantable Wearables Soon To Be In Your Body

A goal of digital health that can be purchased from a store and done at home.


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