Brain-computer interface history
It’s hard to believe but in 1924 Hans Berger became the first man to record human brain activity through electroencephalography (EEG), a full 14 years before the biro pen was invented! Biologists had known the brain was a hub of communications but, they didn’t know how it worked or how we could harness it. Could it be possible to bypass the rest of the body and use only our brain to control other objects?It sounded supernatural but Berger’s discovery was fascinating and became a catalyst for thousands of neurologists. However, it wasn’t until the late 60s that we first saw this knowledge put into practice. Basic applications have shown monkeys operating banana dispensers with their minds, but what about practical human implementations. Real-world BCI use is now growing across a diverse range of industries; here are a couple real life examples of brands using brain EEG along with where we would like to see them in the future.
You might have seen games of Pong or Tetris controlled by tech developers as part of an urban project, but BCI gaming has come a long way. Headsets like Neuroskys £100 MindWave, allow users to operate a whole host of simple BCI games as well has futuristic toys. Just take a look at this globe shaped helicopter called the Puzzlebox Orbit and its review from the folks at Buzzfeed. It might not be the smoothest flyer but it certainly looks fun.
We love a good tech installation and Uniqlos Umood is the perfect blend of BCI, brand and product. Customers are welcome to sit down plug in to the device where they’ll be shown a series of ten short movies, the Umood then records their brain activity and based on these recordings, it suggests clothes from the extensive Uniqlo catalogue. The accuracy of the suggestions isn’t the only aim; after all, Uniqlo isn’t a technology company selling BCI. This is an interactive piece of mood marketing that echoes the Uniqlo brand, clever, colourful and bold.
Brain computer interface of things
We’re inspired by the developing world of BCI but its application to real life tasks is largely untapped. What if BCI were implemented in our homes? What if it could be used to turn off lights, open doors or cook your dinner? We’ve previously talked about The Internet of Things, but what if their epicenter was you, rather than your mobile device? Not only would this create a frictionless experience but also a more secure connection, activated by your brain rather than password. It might seem futuristic but imagine a universal home remote that is connected to your household and controlled by BCI. You could boil the kettle from your sofa, hoover the lounge while you eat breakfast and run a bath before you get out of bed, just by thinking. Cool right?
If the world of BCI seems too futuristic, check out our blog on technology that’s set to make a big impact this year.