G.Tech has teamed up with a group of international universities and research Institutes to incorporate its BCI technology into virtual environments. This technology allows the user to turn light switches on and off, change channels on the TV, turn up the radio, and move around in the virtual environment by thought alone. The applications of this system are limitless, it can be used to teach paralyzed individuals how to maneuver their wheel-chair by thought alone, and eventually help people with locked-in-syndrome exert control over their own environments – whether it be thinking the light switch “on”, or mentally directing a robot with their thoughts.
How do they do this? Currently it’s done in a virtual environment, and EEG (Electroencephalogram) equipment, attached to the user’s scalp, monitors the individual’s brain activity. According to the researchers “after a period of training, the system learns to identify the distinctive patterns of neuronal activity produced when they imagine walking forwards, flicking on a light switch or turning up the radio.”
According to Guger, G.Tech has even come up with a way for individuals to type via thought saying that with practice an individual can achieve a rate up to one letter every eight-tenths of a second – a rate that is similar to typing with one finger.
It’s obvious the future is now, and it’s only a matter of time before these new and wondrous technologies become part of our everyday lives.