Present Impact

Brain Computer Interface (BCI)
The brain computer interface is a direct communication pathway between the brain and an external device. Research on BCI’s began in the 1970’s at the University of California Los Angeles. The development of this technology was mainly geared toward helping individuals who are handicapped to control items via thought ("Brain-Computer Interface," 2009).
  • BSI-Toyota has developed a wheelchair that is controlled by brainwaves in as little as 125 milliseconds. This process works by analyzing brain waves using signal processing technology and creates a smooth left right and forward control without the use of voice commands ("BSI-Toyota," 2009).

  • Hitachi has designed and created a brain machine interface that they call the thinking cap. This (BCI) uses optical fibers connected to a mapping device to control and toy train with simple brain activity. Even though this seems like a simple process given the current uses of the technology, Hitachi hopes to prefect this technology to control electronics such as televisions and automobiles ("Thinking Cap," 2007).



Source: (“BSI-Toyota,” 2009)

Neuroprosthetics

Neuroprosthetics is an area of neuroscience concerned with neural prostheses. This science uses artificial devices to replace the function of impaired nervous systems or sensory organs. Current uses of neuroprosthetics are cochlear implants and retinal implants ("Brain-Computer Interface," 2009).
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  • A Cochlear implant is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or severely hard of hearing. This technology works by directly stimulating any functioning auditory nerves inside the cochlea with an electronic field. As of 2009 approximately 150,000 people worldwide have received cochlear implants. 30,000 adults and 30,000 children alone in just the United States ("Cochlear Implant," 2009).






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  • A Retinal implant is a biomedical implant that is used to partially restore useful vision to people who have lost it due to degenerative eye conditions such as retinitis pigmentosa or macular degeneration. There are really only two types of retinal implants that are showing promise today in clinical studies. These implants are Epiretinal Implants (on the retina) and Subretinal Implants (behind the retina). The epiretinal implant works by stimulating the ganglia using signals sent from a digital camera and power sent from an external transmitter. Subretinal implants work one of two ways, either by external circuitry or by using indecent light as a power source and effectively replace damaged photoreceptors ("Retinal Implant," 2009).