Archive for the ‘terminator’ Category

rechargable brain…?

In brain, neurology, rd, robotics, terminator on 02/21/2008 at 12:28 pm

As we speak there are laboratories and teams working all over the world on systems that will directly connect circuits from silicone chips to our neural circuits, and it may come as a surprise to you that some are just about ready for commercial launch, at least according to a new report from the World Technology Evaluation Center and announced by a news release of the University of Southern California (USC). Some of the conclusions of this report about brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are quite surprising at least to a jaded mind like mine.
For example, North America researchers focus almost exclusively on invasive BCIs while European and Asian labs tend to examine non-invasive BCI systems. (hmm…). If you don’t have enough time to read the 234-page report between late night exams crams and latte dates at starbucks, not to worry, here is a cheat note version of the more exciting excerpts from the weighty tome:)

And for those of you research oriented, here’s the link to this report, “International Assessment of Research and Development in Brain-Computer Interfaces” (PDF format, 234 pages, 5.90 MB), available online on the World Technology Evaluation Center (WTEC) website. Basically the report contains the three noteworthy perspectives on Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) work worldwide:
As you can imagine R&D on Brain-Comp Interface, or BRaCO (an acronym that I much prefer over BCI which always sounded vaguely like a telecom company or maybe it just reminds me of that ill fated MCI🙂 research is extensive and rapidly growing, as is exponential expansion in the interaction between multiple key scientific areas, including biomedical engineering, neuroscience, gen-comp circuitry mapping, materials science and nanotechnology, not to mention neurphysiology and neurosurgery.
BRaCO research is rapidly approaching Generation One clinical trials of invasive BRaCO technologies and widely commercialized use of noninvasive, electroencephalography (EEG) BRaCo devices. The panel predicts that BRaCOs soon will markedly influence the emerging biomedical tech industry (think robotics here), enabling prototype version of the ‘Terminator’ and inevitably of course progressing to non-medical arenas of commerce as well, arguably in weapons industry, gaming, transport.

Frankly the idea of a functional let alone benevolent T1 robot sounds overly optimistic to me at this point, given that the focus of BRaCO research throughout the world is decidedly uneven, with invasive BRaCOs almost exclusively centered in United States (hmm..military budget?), noninvasive BRaCO systems evolving primarily from European and Asian efforts. BRaCO research in pacific rim nations, particularly China surprise surprise, is accelerating, with advanced algorithm development for EEG-based systems currently a pivotal linchpin of China’s BRaCO program. Future BCI research in China is clearly developing toward invasive Brain-Computer Interface systems, so BCI researchers in the US will soon have a strong competitor, thus raising the specter of a new ‘BRaCO arms race’ between the two superpowers, and no we definitely are not talking about russians here:((