Using brain waves to control screen cursor movements, rather than moving a mouse by hand, seems like science fiction! Yet such direct control over our environment is an integral part of the development work being undertaken by participants in the Presencia project.
The IST project Presencia is not due for completion until October 2005, yet project researchers have already developed a working brain/computer interface able to provide direct control of computers. The method is primitive as yet, but has been demonstrated to work. Users experiencing the system have a cap of electroencephalogram (EEG) electrodes placed upon their head. These electrodes are then connected to a pocket PC that records the EEG data or brain waves in real-time. Sat in front of the PC screen, users imagine moving the cursor to the left and then to the right, without actually moving their hands.
The whole procedure is repeated 20 times for each different movement while the PC records the volunteer’s brain wave data throughout. With the Presencia software trained to recognise the volunteer’s brain wave patterns, activation of a control signal then allows the user to move the on-screen cursor either to the left or to the right, simply by imagining the movement!
Tara Morris | alfa
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