Every couple of years I come back to the advancement of brain spray capture techniques – a technology that allows people to direct their movements or thoughts with only brain activity. Progress over the past two years has been impressive.
There are new cutting-edge technologies in brain sensors and management, like astrocyte stimulators and neurograins, and then there are brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) that you can buy online. People overcome severe disabilities with BCIs and the military can use them for multiple functions. In short, brain-reading equipment is already here and finding new uses.
The implementation of BCIs was attempted as early as 1973, when a Dr. Vidal published his study of an EEG-based system. Industry publication Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience notes that recent research application of BCI technology has involved applications as diverse as brainprinting for lie detection, drowsiness detection to improve human work performance , reaction time estimation, virtual reality control, quadcopters and video games, and piloting drones and humanoid robots.
The forefront of brain spray capture is advancing every year. For example, last summer Brown University announced a new concept for future BCI systems. Rather than attaching a few sensors to the scalp, the team uses “a coordinated network of independent micro-scale neural sensors, each the size of a grain of salt, to record and stimulate brain activity. The sensors, dubbed “neurograins,” independently record electrical impulses emitted by neurons and send the signals wirelessly to a central hub, which coordinates and processes the signals. Neurograins are tiny, low-power computer chips with wireless signaling capabilities that the Brown team was able to use both to record neural signals from a living brain and to stimulate the brain in the brain. hope of being able to restore brain function. According to Wired, “The ability to record from many more neurons could allow much finer motor control and expand what is currently possible with brain-controlled devices. Researchers could also use them in animals to learn how different regions of the brain talk to each other. Scientists will now work on making the “grains” even smaller and less intrusive.
Scientists at University College London have found a way to affect specific brain functions through magnetism, using a specialized brain cell called an astrocyte. These star-shaped astrocytes are 5 times more numerous than neurons in our brain and can interact with more than a million brain synapses at once. The researchers injected micromagnets directly into the rats’ brains and guided the magnets to rest directly on the surface of the astrocytes. They then used an external magnet to trigger a mechanical stimulation of astrocyte cell activity. According to The Daily Beast, “As a result, astrocytes charged with micromagnets essentially activate the part of the brain where they are. For example, if activated in the part of the brain that regulates blood pressure (called the brainstem), the result is increased blood pressure, which is exactly what [the research] the team observed. . . . it is a totally non-invasive way to alter brain function. If researchers can find a way to insert the tiny magnets with greater precision, and find materials that allow the magnets to melt into the body after use, they may have found a new way to control brain activity from the inside out. exterior of the body. Soluble brain sensors have already been developed at the University of Illinois. The developers use a waterproof polymer that gradually erodes over a few days.
Cutting-edge research shows us the depth of brain-reading technology, while consumer products demonstrate its breadth. Non-invasive neural readers are available on the market for all kinds of applications. I’ve explored the brain interfaces explored by Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and others before, but today’s market is filled with small-company BCIs.
For example, the Mundra Band allows you to control your smartwatch by measuring muscle contractions in your wrist or even thoughts about what you want to do. Proponents claim the band is sensitive enough to read subtle finger movements and “When you intend to move a finger, the electrodes in the Mudra Band pick up neural signals sent from your brain, through the wrist, to your fingers.” Claiming to capture “biopotentials” emanating from your wrist and converting the ionic electrical activity of the skin into working signals, the group uses AI algorithms to decipher the patterns.
French start-up Nextmind manufactures and sells a device control system that includes an electroencephalogram (EEG) sensing headset, including a modified baseball cap, which connects to a computer and “instantly translates brain signals of the user’s visual cortex into digital controls for any device in real time. No more searching for the TV remote control. You can change channels with your thoughts using the Nextmind system, for the price of a smartphone. Nextmind features also a virtual reality headset with visors that allow the player to control the action of the game with only EEG signals, and develops games to accompany input devices.
iMediSync offers an EEG reading headset for assessing neurological and mental health conditions, gaining FCC approval as an electronic device, but does not yet appear to have FDA approval as a medical device. The manufacturer claims that its headphones provide clinical assessments of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases as well as mood disorders. Some of the mainstream brainwave readers target better sleep. The Apollo device uses vibrations from the wrist or ankle to send stimulation to the brain through the vagus nerve. The UrgoNight headband claims to train your brain during daytime wear (20 minutes a day, 3 times a week), to improve sleep at night. The Hapbee band can be worn on your head or around your neck and uses magnetic field technology called uIRFE to send signals to your brain. According to Hapbee, “The Bedtime Signal is a sleep trigger intended to help you fall asleep quickly. The Deep Sleep Signal is a game-changing sleep regulator for people who wake up often during the night.
Some companies (including Hapbee) offer their products to enhance meditation. The Muse 2 headset guides you into a meditative state by playing weather sounds to indicate if your mind is too busy (storm) or calm (calm breeze). BrainTap offers a headset that uses binaural beats, light therapy, and sound therapy to deepen mindfulness. The product comes with six meditation programs to help your awareness of body and mind. While the Versus neurofeedback headset provides EEG games meant to help focus and attention, Mightier uses heart rate biofeedback to help kids regulate tantrums and frustration.
Everyone from the US military to the fitness industry is now testing and producing BCIs and neurofeedback devices. Thoughts are our most private domain, and as the industry develops tools to harness directed thoughts, many people will benefit. But as with other technological advancements, we must develop this industry with care and consideration of the ethics involved.
Copyright © 2022 Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 61