Brain-Computer Interfaces: The Future We Never Thought Possible
We all have an idea of our predictions for the future. Some of them seem crazy; teleportation, flying vehicles, telepathy, and more. To us, it seems impossible for these to become reality, especially so soon. But what if I told you that one of these ideas were possible. You’d call me crazy but our fantasies are now not seeming so far away.
With amazing emerging technology, brain-computer interfaces, we will actually be able to be telepathic in a sense. This means that technology will give us the ability to do something by just thinking about it. But before we understand BCI’s, we need to understand the main factor in this mix, our brain!
The headquarters of our body: The BRAIN 🧠
Our brain is an essential part of the human body It communicates 🗣with the rest of our body to tell them what to do and how. Our brain does this because we have neurons. Neurons are nerve cells in our brain that allow us to communicate and send messages to other parts of our body. They create neural pathways with the brain and an organ. Our brain is the headquarters of our body because it can also deal with a ton of other areas such as emotions, 5 senses, memories.
With brain-computer interfaces, we can monitor these neurons sending messages to each other because it causes electrical sparks💥. This is also known as, brain waves! There are a variety of different brainwaves that all have different functions; delta, theta, alpha, beta, gamma
Types of BCI’s
To monitor these brainwaves, there are specific types of BCI’s. None is technically better than the other, but they can be used for different purposes and preferneces.
Invasive BCI’s work by placing individual electrodes directly on the cortex. Because it is already so close to our brain, there are no risks of interruptions and this type of BCI is in hindsight, the most accurate. Even though this technology sounds super cool, people are hesitant towards supporting invasive BCI’s because you have to get surgery and there are a lot of security concerns around it including brain hacking, which is dangerous when the BCI is permanent in your brain.
For Semi-Invasive BCI’s you still are required to get surgery, but it is a bit farther away from the brain itself. Semi Invasive BCI’s are placed on the surface of our brain instead of directly on it. The most common semi-invasive BCI’s are Ecog’s. Although this seems safer, many of the same safety concerns with Invasive BCI’s still apply here,
Non-invasive BCI’s are the most popular type of BCI’s because it’s the safest. This type of BCI doesn’t need surgery because it works by placing electrodes on the scalp surface. This will allow it to pick up electrical activity all around the brain. A common non-invasive BCI is electroencephalography (EEG) but unfortunately, this type of BCI still has its a fair share of problems. Because the electrodes are only on the scalp surface, the quality (or spatial resolution) is not as high as the other two types.
The future of BCI’s
BCI’s will impact several industries continuously because of its wide range of options, but it will also open up many new possibilities for our future. The ideas right now are endless and some of them may even seem scary or unrealistic. Here are some of the coolest and crazy possibilities
BCI’s will give us the ability to control things with out mind! If we connect the electrodes that are monitoring brain waves to an item, potentially a mobile one, we’d be able to control these objects simply by the thought of it. This is already being applied throughout various BCI companies but only at a bare minimum. Companies today working with BCI’s and telepathy are only at step 1 of the process because in the future we might be able to control even more with our minds, maybe even our whole households 🏠!
Mind to Mind Communications
On top of being able to work with external objects within our brain, in the future we’ll probably be able to work with other brains 🧠! If two people have brain computer interfaces that can be connected, then it’s a possibilty for the future that they’ll be able to communicate 💬 through thoughts. Imagine, instead of calling your best friend on their birthday, you can just wish them a happy birthday through their brain! Other than randomly chatting, in can be used for emergencies so when you are in danger, the police, firestation, ambulance or even a loved one can come save you.
Downloading our knowledge
Furthermore, we can reverse these ideas and actually use the computer to mot necessarily control, but add value to our human brains. Technically, this is called computer to brain interfaces, but it is still a form of brain computer interfaces. Whether you want to learn a new language or maybe even learn to be an expert at karate, in the future you’ll be able to perform these tasks with only seconds of learning. This possibilty seems crazy but is a HUGE risk. There’d be a lot of legal issues around it, what if you downloaded the same brain as someone else, then you’d be somewhat impersonating them? What if you used it to know everything in subjects at school, you’d just pass for putting in no effort, would that be cheating?
Brain Computer Interfaces will literally change our ENTIRE future. This technology has so much power to change the world in a positive manner, but there’s also the risk of people using it with bad intentions, maybe going so far to create the idea and implement brain hacking. Yes, these possibilities are mind blowing 😂 but we will not be able to make them a reality unless we can get people to use them in the righ ways. These possibilies for the future won’t just be for fun, they can be used in SO many contexts, so it’s up to the global 🌍 community to learn how to use them, and use them right.