Brain-Computer Interface

Brain-Computer Interface is hardware, or software, or wetware – that makes a direct communication pathway between the brain and a computer system – thereby enabling a feedback loop between the two. 

Brain-Computer Interface is not only a revolution in communication that will change the way humans interact with machines, but also how humans communicate with each other – as BCI is making Synthetic Telepathy possible through Brain-to-Brain Interface. 

Other possibilities that BCI opens up like memory augmentation, intelligence enhancement, mind uploading and integrating humans to IoT – are just the tip of the iceberg. And for biohackers, BCI means becoming an actual, real cyborg – in the truest definition of the term.

Implanted BCI

With Facebook, DARPA, Kernel and Elon Musk’s Neuralink all working on BCI implant prototypes, Brain-Computer Interface is leaning towards materializing as an implant.

The fact that it’s tech giants and government agencies like DARPA working on BCI – and invasive implantation is the likely mode of implementation, BCI development seems lofty, far too ambitious and even impossible to attempt independently. 

But cheap consumer-based technologies and devices that make it possible for one to work on BCI even at home, are becoming popular. All of which are non-invasive and completely safe to self-experiment with.

Self-Experimenting with Non-Invasive BCI

Most non-invasive BCI work by detecting and translating brain activity. Many are EEG-based and thus record electrical activity along the scalp. And though EEGs have low spatial resolution and weak signal localization, they have decent temporal resolution. This is in contrast to fMRI – another neuro-technology that’s been hacked for BCI – which has low temporal resolution but high spatial resolution and can get information from deep parts of the brain. fMRI detects changes in blood flow due to brain activity and thus maps activities corresponding to areas of the brain being used.

Some hackable consumer-targeted systems that you can use to experiment with BCI are;

  • OpenBCI – a customizable open-source DIY BCI platform that makes open-source BCI kits that include arduino-compatible circuit-boards and 3D-printed EEG headsets – that you also have the option of just 3D-printing on your own as they are open-source.

  • OpenEEG – offers free software and hardware schematics that you can use to make your own EEG.

  • EPOC – a wireless bluetooth EEG headset by Emotiv that is re-programmable and customizable.

Finally, there are other consumer-based systems geared more towards entertainment than experimentation, that are nonetheless still hackable enough to meet basic neurohacking needs:

  • Muse – an easy to use bluetooth-enabled wearable headband EEG that can be used a meditation aid, and provides real-time biofeedback of your brain activity.

  • MindFlex – gaming device that you use to telepathically move a ball through an obstacle-course.

  • Star Wars Force Trainer – gaming headset that lets you levitate a ball using your mind – or the “force.”

  • Neurable – a HTC Vive connected virtual reality headset that lets you use total mind control in a VR game.

  • MindWave – a headset by NeuroSky, reputed to help reduce ADHD.

  • CTRL-kit – an armband that uses differential electromyography or EMG tech and so it’s not really BCI, but it uses a similar principal of reading neural signals.

Addendum

Considering the pitfalls of what a brain implant entails, biocomputers are a potential solution for such pitfalls – as they offer BCI implants that are more compatible with human wetware. This bio-compatibility that biocomputers offer, solves most of the issues associated with invasive BCI. Koniku Inc is already working on a hybrid processor made up of a silicon chip and living neurons – and so it’s very feasible for neurohackers exploring BCI to approach their exploration through this novel wetware paradigm.




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