Computer-brain interface turns power of mind into motion

Advances in brain computer interfaces have helped researchers develop a ‘brain cap’ that can turn thoughts into motion.

A team at the University of Maryland has been working on a non-invasive method that will allow a sensor lined cap to connect with neural software.

The technology could potentially be used to control computers, robotic prosthetic limbs, motorised wheelchairs or even digital avatars.

To get widely speculative, it could be possible to interact wirelessly.  The team says its discovery could be used to help with a variety of illnesses or injuries.

“We are doing something that few previously thought was possible,” said Contreras-Vidal in a statement.

“We use EEG [electroencephalography] to non-invasively read brain waves and translate them into movement commands for computers and other devices.”

That includes using brain signals to reconstruct the complex three dimensional movements of ankle, knee and hip joints while walking.

While the team notes that there are other attempts to create interface technologies, their research is unique in that it does not involve the direct implantation of electrodes onto the brain or require much training.

Combined with the latest in robotic arm technology, used by DARPA, and lower limb exo-skeletons, there is the potential to bring all of the technology into just one device.

To reach this stage of development the team tracked neural activity of people on a treadmill performing tasks while scientists matched brain activity to movement.