Friday, June 22, 2007

Brain-ChooChoo Interface

"I had a personality. Now I have Hitachi. "

Okay, okay, okay. Hitachi. Yes, we know all experiments that use 'brain signals' are intrinsically cool. We got that. But even I was bored by the optical topography used to control a virtual train. Wow. Forward and back you say? 1D control? I'm sorry. I'm just not amazed. And is it just me, or does that girl NOT look like a willing subject?

Not satisfied with grandiose statement about how this will obviously lead to 40-limb mecha-superhuman cyborgs, the linked article cites Honda, who, in a similar, but far less useful way, used an MRI setup to control a car. That's what I want. A car filled with liquid nitrogen (or is it hydrogen?) that takes a week to power on and can't get close to anything metal, like, say, other cars, street signs, or bridges, or safety rails, or strollers, or dog collars. Though, that would be funny to watch such a car drive by a park, only to be slingshotted across the street, with monkey bars, collared pets, and baby strollers attached.

All bitterness toward over sensationalizing media reports aside, this is interesting from a tele-presence perspective. Of course using "mental calculations" for yes and "no thought" for no doesn't sound like a good plan. What if you ask them a question like, "If I give you $5, will you give the nurse here permission to give me $5000-$4+$40000 of your money?"


Anonymous said...

1D? Depending on how they implemented the control algorithm, this may be as little as 1 bit! (ie no control of speed and train is either moving forwards or backwards without an explicit "stop" state)

I have no doubt that Hitachi and friends can make this technology cheap and bring it to market more quickly than the universities, but yeah, color me unimpressed.

Brandon King said...

Yeah, I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming that their train control algorithm is more robust than the binary switch they talk about in the same article.

The take home here is that optical topography can be used in BCI. How practical and precise it is has yet to be established.

Post a Comment