A key goal for both neuroscientists and computer scientists is to come up with a reliable method of interfacing the human brain with a computer. The concept is a hallmark of science fiction, but would be very beneficial in a wide range of medical and computing scenarios. On the medical side, it could provide detailed data for better understanding many brain conditions (such as Alzheimer's Disease). In the computing world, it has a lot of potential for interacting directly with devices without cumbersome screens and keyboards.
While we have seen progress in these areas, particularly with basic mind-control devices, there is still a lot of room for advancement. The difficulty, of course, is that despite all of our medical breakthroughs, we still have a pretty limited understanding of how the brain actually work s. But, a new device dubbed Brainternet, from researchers at South Africa's Wits University may provide valuable insight into our brain functions.
The system connects an Emotive Epoc+ EEG (Electroencephalography) device to a Raspberry Pi, and uploads it to the Internet in real-time. The complete package is portable, and allows researchers to see the Emotiv wearer's brain activity as it occurs. This information is useful for monitoring brain activity during particular tasks (like motor function as you raise your arm), and for seeing how the brain operates as you go about your normal day.
The Emotiv Epoc+ is capable of reading and recording up to 14 channels of brain activity, with the electrodes placed on key points of the wearer's head. This means the researchers can monitor a wide range of different areas of the brain simultaneously. While this is, currently, displayed publicly on their website, there are tools for privately recording the brain under specific conditions. The team behind Brainternet hopes this will lead to further advancements in our knowledge of how the brain works.