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Brain Machine Interface (BMI)

Last Updated : 30 Sep, 2022
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A Brain Machine Interface (BMI) is a device that enables a direct communications path between the brain and the machine to be controlled. Researchers began their research on BCI’s in the 1970’s at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) under a grant from the National Science Foundation, followed by a contract from DARPA.

The papers published after the research also mark the first appearance of the expression brain machine interface in scientific literature. It is also called as:

  1. Neural-control interface (NCI)
  2. Mind-machine interface (MMI)
  3. Direct neural interface (DNI)
  4. Brain–computer interface (BCI)

Working of Brain-Machine Interface (BMI) –

As the influence of modern computers grows alongside with our understanding of the human brain, we are moving closer to make some pretty spectacular science fiction into reality. For example, just imagine transmitting signals directly to someone’s brain that would allow them to see, hear or feel specific sensory inputs, how much spectacular that would be. This means you have the potential of manipulating the machine or the computer with your own brain just by giving sensory inputs.

Development of a Brain-machine interface (BCI) could be the most important technological breakthrough in decades not just for the convenience of disabled people. Our brains are filled with neurons, individual nerve cells connected to one another through dendrites and axons. Each time we think, move, feel and remember something, our neurons are at work. Brain-Machine Interface research is an area of high public awareness. Videos on YouTube, as well as reported news in the media, indicates intense curiosity and interest in a field that hopefully one day soon will dramatically improve the lives of many disabled persons affected by a number of different diseases.

How to Measure Brain Activity ?

There are several ways to measure Brain-Machine Interface out of which the two most prominent are mentioned below –

  1. Electroencephalograph (EEG): One of the biggest difficulty faced by researchers in brain-computer interface in the present scenario is the complex mechanics of the interface itself. A group of electrodes which is a device known as an electroencephalograph (EEG) attached to the scalp is the easiest and invasive method. It is used for reading brain signals. However, significant portion of the signal emanated from our brain gets distorted as the skull blocks the electrical signals. Regardless of whatever location you place the electrodes, the basic mechanism is the same i.e. the electrodes measure minute differences in the voltage between neurons and then signal is then amplified and filtered.
  2. Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI): An MRI machine is a complicated and massive device. Even though the images produced by the MRI are of high-resolution, we cannot use it as a part of permanent or semi-permanent. Researchers used this to get standard for certain brain activity or to depict where in the brain electrodes should be placed to measure a specific function.

Top 5 Brain Machine Interface Projects:

  1. Brain controlled wheelchair: Move with your Brain-This project can be developed for physically impaired people in their movement, all the system need is user’s concentration. Users are allowed to navigate in a familiar indoor environment within a reasonable time with the help of Wheelchair.
  2. Brain Controlled Robotic ARM: Brainwave sensor can catch your brain signals whenever you blink your eyes, when you concentrate, meditate and can be used in various applications. Brain Controlled Robotic Arm is one of the Applications of it. The Robotic Arm is moved with EEG sensor based on a parameter collected by it.
  3. Brain Keyboard (You can type with your Eye blink): Many paralyzed people try to communicate with the surroundings but cannot. They can do it with this Brain keyboard and communicate with their surroundings. EEG sensor reads the eye blink and accordingly, text gets displayed on the text box.
  4. Helicopter Controlled by Brain: Yes, you can fly your helicopter with your Brainwaves. The helicopter can fly according to your level of concentration, and meditation so when you concentrate it flies up and when you relax it will be back, isn’t it interesting.
  5. Authentication of Password using Brainwaves (Security): As we know brain signals and pattern of every human being is unique and different thus we can use EEG in bio-metric identification. This can be used from high security areas to our Home and we can authenticate using my brainwaves only.

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