What are Brain-Computer Interfaces?


Research in the area of brain-computer interfaces (BCI) has its roots in assistive technology designed to help people who cannot communicate or who are paralyzed. In essence, a brain-computer interface interprets the signals created when the brain’s neurons fire, allowing a computer to translate these into commands that can be used to control output of one kind or another. Researchers are developing brain-controlled robots that can learn to perform actions for paralytics, and brain-computer interfaces for communicating with sufferers of neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS. While still much the stuff of science fiction, some of the research has been very promising, and the first real BCI products are now coming into the market — with some aimed at consumer use.

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