Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Brain Machine Interfaces

I recently finished watching the science fiction television series Caprica, a spin-off of the new Battlestar Galactica. It shows a society transitioning to the adoption of new technologies such as exploring virtual realities for entertainment using brain machine interfaces (BMIs). The story transitions to uploading minds into those same virtual realities for continued existence after physical death.

I also finished listening to the non-fiction audio book Beyond Boundaries: The new neuroscience of connecting brains with machines -- and how it will change our lives (2011) by neuroscientist Miguel Nicolelis, M.D, Ph.D. Dr. Nicolelis is building BMIs both to understand how the brain works and to enable the completely paralyzed to interact with their environments. He concludes with speculations about the future that would appeal to any fan of "Caprica".

I think BMIs implanted in the body will gain rapid public acceptance as medical devices initially and then later as entertainment devices. The fact that they also give us what could be considered as enhanced super-human powers will be as welcome as wireless smartphone technology is today. I think the adoption of other transhumanist technologies will follow a similar course.

Under my former research advisor Larry Cauller, Ph.D., now retired, I did some research on implantable wireless peripheral nerve interfaces (PNIs). That led to me to new research on what I called Spike Interface Embodied Virtual Environments (SIEVEs).