Thanks to emerging Brain-to-Computer interface technology we might soon control our computers using only the power of our mind (*insert the “Twilight Zone” theme music)
Although it’s been said before, the phrase “we are entering into a new age” has never been more applicable than right now, as far as technology is concerned anyway. Over the course of the last few years the intense research that was done in the field of neural / cerebral / brain – computer interfacing is starting to pay off…big time. For the first time ever we can actually say that devices do in fact exist which allow human beings to control machines using only the power of their thoughts.
Understandably, this development has created something of a panic among certain groups. Certainly the technology could be used for any range of nefarious purposes, but this doesn’t really help us use it in any useful way does it? Before we begin dreaming up the next generation of sci-fi horror screenplay ideas, let’s examine how these amazing interface devices might very well change the way we interact with most consumer devices in the very near future.
First off, the costs associated with developing brain – computer interface devices for the average consumer are dropping. This is to say that it is becoming increasingly affordable to not only deliver this amazing new tech to the world’s population. In fact, it may soon become so commonplace that device manufacturers and designers will begin integrating compatibility features for brain interface headsets. It makes sense; after all, isn’t this what happens with nearly all consumer gadgets? A great example of this type of scenario is the Bluetooth headset, how long did it take after its emergence for every single phone manufacturer to integrate compatibility for those devices? The question is why would a “brain – computer interface headset” (that is non-invasive and works extremely well) be any different?
The truth is, this technology is currently at a level which allows the average human being to control digital objects using only the power of their thoughts without much effort. In other words, it’s not as if any special training is required, so the only foreboding elements to contend with are manufacturing costs and marketing. Given this reality, it’s entirely safe to assume that some large corporation (which might end up being Microsoft, Apple, Google, etc…) will dish out the big bucks for working patents or designs which might allow them to cheaply mass-produce these types of devices.
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Secondly, there are a number of companies jumping on board with this technology, each with their own aims. This is not only going to spur competition in many different areas and directions, but it will also greatly expand the overall list of potential uses for this emerging tech. Moreover, it is extremely likely that many positive uses for brain – computer interface headsets will pop up in various fields. The use of such technology has incredible potential applications in the field of medicine for example, and may allow surgeons to eventually perform amazing work on very microscopic levels (in a routine-like fashion). Although this is a bit of a stretch and perhaps very “futuristic”, imagine doctors being able to use neural interfaces to control nanomachines for use in rebuilding detached nerves, repairing damaged brain tissue, or perhaps repairing bodily organs.
Additionally, if this technology takes hold in a major way (it might be more apt to say “when” instead of “if”) it’s probably going to have a sizable effect on application/software design as well as your average OS. Although people aren’t readily discussing this subject much at this point, brain – computer interface technology will likely herald in an entirely new approach to computing. Most of us often forget that our mice, keyboards, touch screens, and other typical control devices were developed in response to biological needs and limitations. The thing is, this new technology completely removes any and all biologically based barriers when it comes to actually controlling software and hardware. The bottom line is that this will certainly have a marked effect on all basic software design (assuming that the technology itself takes hold in a fairly significant way). Brain to Computer interface technology
From an outward perspective, the adoption of brain – computer interface headsets look more like an eventuality as opposed to an alternative. Consumers as well as businesses have an insatiable appetite for new, useful and exciting forms of technology and both groups will undoubtedly go on to apply it in ways that we could only dream about. The world seems poised for a large-scare adoption of this technology, and it is starting to seem more like an eventuality with each passing day. If this happens, we should also expect the overall speed of data aggregation to increase as well, which will create a range of additional effects on the technology and IT sectors.