In The Blink Of An Eye

While delving around in the literature on the Brain–Computer Interface (BCI), I tripped over a paper from last year on the Human–Computer Interface (HCI). Initially, I missed the differentiation indicated by change in name of the interface.

The BCI responds to electrical signals sensed through the scalp. The more the merrier, as the need is to pinpoint brain activity. The equipment is complex and expensive, although prices would fall if we all had one. The HCI responds to electrical signals measured by five facial electrodes and responds to eye movement. Costs are a factor of ten lower, but in the current research of Usakil et al (1), the signals are used to work a virtual keyboard. Of course, any other system of icons could be used.

The interest for both the BCI and HCI work is to help people with major motion and speech problems. A question that came to mind was would the advances be faster if the computer gaming industry picked up on the possibilities? Their deep pockets and numbers of engineers could make a huge difference. Extra fast inputs to game control that would give our overworked thumbs a rest would be very welcome.

The standard games controller looks so last century to me. The more active inputs where you hold a bat or dance around are much more this century. The thought that you could just give knowing glances and winks to your computer to make it do what you want sounds fun to me.


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