Study: Epilepsy Patients Use Mind-Control to Move Computer Cursor
June 13, 2013 11:27 AM
comment(s) - last by
Research like this could one day lead to better robotic limbs that are capable of smarter mind-control
A new study has mapped the neurological signals throughout the brain while patients complete tasks using only their thoughts, showing promise for
University of Washington researchers, led by Rajesh Rao (a UW professor of computer science and engineering), have used a brain-computer interface to allow patients to controls certain things using their thoughts.
The study, which was also conducted by Jeffrey Ojemann (a UW professor of neurological surgery) and Jeremiah Wander (a UW doctoral student in bioengineering), used seven participants with severe epilepsy for testing. The patients had been hospitalized for a procedure that attempts to locate where the brain seizures begin.
The UW team attached electrodes on top of the brains of the patients, just beneath the skull. These electrodes identified brain signals, which were sent to an amplifier and then a laptop to be be analyzed.
The patients were asked to move a cursor on a computer screen by
only thinking about the movement
. In just 40 milliseconds, the laptop was able to calculate and interpret the brain signals to move the cursor on the screen.
While other studies have been able to accomplish similar tasks, this is the first study to show what was going on in the brain while the patient was learning this task. While conducting the study, researchers observed the neurological signals throughout the brain as the patient learned the task at hand.
When the patient was first asked to move the cursor, there was a lot of activity in the prefrontal cortex -- mainly because this area is associated with learning new tasks. But after a bit of time (some as little as only 10 minutes), the activity in this area decreased because the patient had become comfortable with the task.
"We now have a larger-scale view of what's happening in the brain of a subject as he or she is learning a task," Rao said. "The surprising result is that even though only a very localized population of cells is used in the brain-computer interface, the brain recruits many other areas that aren't directly involved to get the job done."
Research like this could one day lead to better robotic limbs that are capable of smarter mind-control.
This study was published in
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: mind control isn't the right word
6/13/2013 8:46:11 PM
Yup the correct term even already exists, cybernetics. It was coined for this exact situation.
RE: mind control isn't the right word
6/14/2013 7:42:16 AM
cybernetics is the study of the relationship between biological and mechanical systems and more specifically the feedback between these systems. So while this study falls within the realm of cybernetics, the practice of moving a cursor with one's mind is something else entirely, and I am not sure there is a proper word for that yet.
While "mind control" certainly has the implication of the mind being controlled (especially in scifi circles), it can easily mean the mind is the one doing the controlling as well.
However, I would prefer a word more like cyberkenisis... just because it sounds like a superpower :)
"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay
Human Testing to Begin on Mind-controlled Prosthetic
August 9, 2010, 6:45 AM
OCZ Mind Controlled Gamer Mouse Nears Production
January 17, 2008, 2:57 PM
Quick Note: Toshiba to Restructure PC Business, Cut 900 Jobs Worldwide
September 18, 2014, 1:40 PM
Samsung Galaxy Note 4 U.S. Pre-orders Start Sept 19, Launches Oct 14
September 18, 2014, 10:15 AM
Amazon Releases New and Refreshed Kindle Fire Tablets, Announces Fire OS 4
September 17, 2014, 10:23 PM
Apple Launches iOS 8 for iPads, iPhones
September 17, 2014, 1:54 PM
Apple Cripples NFC in iPhone 6, 6+ With Developer Ban
September 17, 2014, 1:00 PM
5.7" ZTE ZMAX "Phablet" Coming to T-Mobile Sept 24 for $252
September 17, 2014, 11:50 AM
Most Popular Articles
Quick Note: Buy an Xbox One Sept 7-13, Get a Free Game
September 4, 2014, 10:42 AM
Apple Announces Its Smartwatch: The $349 Apple Watch
September 9, 2014, 2:09 PM
Dell Announces "World's Thinnest" Tablet: The Venue 8 7000 Series
September 11, 2014, 8:51 AM
Windows 9's Latest Metro Start Menu Leaks, German Site Accidentally Outs Leaker
September 11, 2014, 8:36 PM
T-Mobile Launches Un-carrier 7.0, Beefs Up Wi-Fi Calling
September 11, 2014, 2:56 PM
Latest Blog Posts
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information