engineuring

The last few months were too overwhelmed with events, projects and laziness… But now I’m back to blogging 🙂

Regarding KT88-1016, I think I’ll have to abandon this project for an undefined time! Got a BCI-related job here, and anyway, everyone is going for Emotiv now. And I became disappointed now in capabilities of EEG-based BCIs – invasive approach definitely offers more!

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Francois VialatteFrancois Vialatte is a researcher at Brain Science Institute RIKEN. He works on deciphering brain signals for creating better Brain-Computer interfaces and tools that can diagnose Alzheimer’s at early stages.  Learn more about his research.

On this interview BCI researcher Francois Vialatte answers some unpleasant questions surrounding BCI research, such as does BCI really has its future? Also we discuss current problems with publicity of science, potential hypnotic effects of BCI and possibility of entering altered state of mind while playing BCI games.

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“Brain-wave signatures, represented as the EEG signals of a person … are different from one individual to another, even when they perform the same thought or task”, “A brain-based biometric can be as strong as DNA-based biometric”

Touradj Ebrahimi

Brain of each human being is completely unique. Its structure is highly influenced not only by our DNA but also by everything we experience in our life. You can find people even with the same DNA – but life history is something that cannot be duplicated.

So brain activity is unique biometric every person has. And such biometrics are used in access control systems when security is needed. Simply, you can use your biometric as a password to gain access to resources protected from everyone except you. And brain activity has a lot of advantages over other biometrics traditionally used in access control systems (such as fingerprints). Here are the most important ones:

  • Brain activity is secure. In case of fingerprints, for example, we leave biometric in every place we touch with our hands, so everyone who needs to attack the system can collect & replicate it. Brain, in contrary, is safely hidden inside a skull.
  • Brain activity is changeable. You cannot influence other biometrics – your iris pattern, DNA, heart beats, fingerprints – are determined by nature and there is no easy way to modify them. If system based on these biometrics is compromised once, it is compromised forever. Brain activity, conversely, can be easily changed just by simple thought.

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DIY EEG

As blog’s stats shows a lot of us today are dreaming of a cheap EEG device – most traffic is coming from Google searches “cheap eeg”, “cheapest eeg hardware” and the like =) From cheap EEG devices available, cheapest are those you build yourself. Currently there are various DIY EEG hardware designs & building instructions available on the Internet. Here is a short survey on what we have.

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EEG Download

I was hunting for such databases for a while while preparing my project. Here is what I collected.

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Program screenshot

(A signal shown here was taken while twisting electrodes in hands. This is not EEG =)

As a geek I’ve always dreamed of a day when my computer will really become extension of my mind – all boundaries like the need to use mouse, keyboard and other awkward interfaces to explain my idea to machine will be gone. When mind will fuse with technology, and obtain all if its computing power, logic accuracy, incredible amounts of memory… and many other good things we could only dream of.

Fortunately, advances in technology in last years show we’re quickly moving in this direction. If you watch news you know today it’s possible to control machines using only your mind. It’s done by using brain-computer interfaces.

Surely it’s more interesting to try brain-computer interfacing yourself then just to watch it in news. But here comes the roadblock: you need special hardware – an EEG device – to make the connection, and it’s not cheap. When I googled for EEG hardware, I found unfortunately prices start from 3000$ and go up to tens of thousands of bucks :(((

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