In what is hailed as a major scientific breakthrough, researchers have managed to connect the human brain to the internet for the first time ever.
In research thought to be the world’s first, biomedical engineers from the Witz University have connected the human brain to the internet in real time.
Researchers at Wits University have linked a human brain directly to the Internet. The data collected from this project could help pave the next steps in learning machines and brain-computer interfaces.
The project has been dubbed as “Brainternet” and essentially turns the brain into an “Internet of Things” (a network of connected physical objects) within the World Wide Web. The project works through electroencephalography (EEG) signals from brain waves gathered by a device connected to the user’s head, a statement said reads on the website of Medical Express.
The signals are transmitted to a low-cost Raspberry Pi computer, which communicates them to the application’s interface, visualizing an open internet site, where anyone can view its activity.
What does this mean? Well, basically its a special window into someone else’s neural activity that has open access.
While this may not sound as much, it is a major breakthrough which paves the way for future technologies such as advanced artificial intelligence.
“Ultimately, we’re aiming to enable interactivity between the user and their brain so that the user can provide a stimulus and see the response,” project coordinator Adam Pantanowitz, a lecturer in the Wits School of Electrical and Information Engineering, said in a statement.
Pantanowitz adds that “Brainternet can be further improved to classify recordings through a smartphone app that will provide data for a machine-learning algorithm.”
Essentially, this means that in the near future, “there could be information transferred in both directions – inputs and outputs to the brain,” says Pantanowitz.
Brainternet essentially works by converting electroencephalogram (EEG) signals (brain waves) in an open source brain live stream.
A person is provided with a powered, mobile, internet accessible Emotiv EEG device for an extended period.
During this time, the Emotiv carries the EEG signals to a Raspberry Pi, which streams the signals to an application programming interface (code that allows software programmers to communicate), displaying data on a website that acts as a medium.
Researchers say that this is just the beginning of various possibilities of the project.
The next steps of the study are to allow a more interactive experience between the user and the brain.
Some features have already been incorporated into the website, but the options are not limited to the stimulus such as arm movement.
In addition to applications in machine learning and brain-computer interfaces, such as Elon Musk’s Neural Lace and Bryan Johnson’s Kernel, the data collected in this project can lead to a better perception of how our minds work and how we can take advantage of this knowledge to increase our brain power.
Source: Witz university