Brain-computer interface (BCI) is a direct connection between computer(s) and the human brain. It is the ultimate in development of human-computer interfaces or HCI. Recently advances have been made with Brain-Machine Interfaces (BMI).
Currently research is being conducted the fields of neuroscience and neuroengineering regarding BCI and BMI. Using chips esn’t actually have to do the task, it just has to think the task, and the reward will be received.
There are other means of reading brain activity than direct neural contact via pins. The first and most common is electroencephalography (EEG) where electrodes are placed against the scalp are used to pick up brain signals. However, this approach is not nearly as accurate as direct neural contact and can only pickup blurry, weak readings. The other, much newer, and much more accurate non-invasive technology is magnetoencephalography (MEG) but is also more equipment intensive. Using MEG requires a room filled with super-conducting magnets and giant super-cooling helium tanks surrounded by shielded walls. This technology, while providing the speed and accuracy needed for a successful non-invasive BMI, will require significant improvement of technology in order to be realistic for everday use.
- Current EEG equipment is expensive. An Open source initiative to reduce the cost of EEG equipment, OpenEEG promises to dramatically reduce the cost, and therefore increase the number of people experimenting with this technology.
- [OpenStim] aims to create a community that designs the core technology for a safe, highly functional, inexpensive, efficacious noninvasive transcranial magnetic stimulator (TMS) device for stimulating the central nervous system.
Early BCI/BMI: signal splicing into human sensory nerve pathways, most importantly the visual nerve.
Mid-term BCI/BMI: more direct links into the brain with the ability to read certain thoughts and copy a wide range of data and information into various parts of the brain.
Final BCI/BMI: direct control over the activities of all individual neurons by means of nanorobots. Arbitrary read/write access to the whole brain. The line between the mind and the computer is blurred. Partial or full uploading is possible and inevitable.