Brain Computer Interface (BCI) Technology

The Scoop



Future Potential of Brain Computer Interface (BCI) Technology

Telekinesis has always been portrayed in science fiction movies as a futuristic, pseudo-scientific, alien-like trait — but no more. The neurological capacity to influence a physical system without physical interaction is on its way to mass market applications.


The development of brain-computer interfaces (BCIs), also known as neural control interface (NCI), allows a non-invasive device (such as an earbud or headband) to detect electrical activity in the brain, analyze those brain signals and extract patterns. For example, BCIs are currently being used as a neurofeedback training tool for a paralyzed person to control an assistive device or to detect a lag in attention or high stress levels.


Scientists are researching other potential applications for the future, although the innovation does raise questions about the potential of breaching someone’s privacy. For example, a dashboard of real-time brain waves could be monitored by a supervisor to ensure workers in certain industries remain focused and do not get distracted, which could lead to an accident. On one hand, that may seem invasive, but on the other, it potentially could help reduce on-the-job injuries and hazards for jobs ranging from truck drivers to pilots to surgeons.


In the future, researchers see advancing this technology to the point of the brain instructing an external device, such as writing out a text, a report or even a story just by thinking the words. That, indeed, would join the realm of science fiction novels.


Source: Alexandre Gonfalonieri. Harvard Business Review. Oct. 6, 2020. “What Brain-Computer Interfaces Could Mean for the Future of Work.” Accessed Dec. 2, 2020.

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