Mind power: Brain Machine Interfaces

by | Sunday, September 06, 2009

Imagine controlling machines, typing text or juggling balls using nothing but the power of thought. What sounds like far-fetched science fiction is gradually becoming possible, providing hope for disabled patients — and new gimmicks for the computer gaming industry. Read more in Playing With Your Head: The Dawning Age of Mind-Reading Machines

What implications do these new technologies have for learning and education? I mean even Mattel is getting into the action… As the article says

The new system Mattel is introducing at computer trade shows is called “Mindflex.” According to the company’s fact sheet: “A true mental marathon, Mindflex exercises the brain in an entirely new way as players learn to continuously control their brain activity.”

So, you ask, how does it work? To train the brain, the user puts on a headband with sensors at the temples and a cable connected to something that looks like a mini miniature golf course. Then the user tries to master the first task: balancing a small ball above an air current, causing it to levitate and making it pass through a plastic ring.

At this time these interfaces work only in one direction, from the brain to the computer. But can the reverse, from computer to the brain be far behind? The power being discussed here is truly revolutionary. We have all known that computers are cognitive tools i.e. working with them changes the way we think. However, at some level changes in brain states are mediated via our senses and through movement, a somewhat inefficient process. What these technologies indicate is the future is in a merging of our brains directly with the computer… where the distinction between us and the machine will be increasingly blurred till we won’t be able to tell one from the other. Imagine having access to Google like search engines whenever a question pops up in our heads? How can we tell where the brain ends and the machine begins?

A few randomly selected blog posts…

Blast from the past: Technology, representation & cognition

Blast from the past: Technology, representation & cognition

I published my first academic article (a book chapter) in 1996 when I was a PhD student at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. My the advisor, Rand Spiro, had been invited to write a chapter for an edited book and asked me if I would be willing to join him...

AACTE Major Forum on TPCK

Matt and I will be at New Orleans in a few weeks presenting at a major forum organized as a part of the AACTE conference. The title of the major forum is When Multiple Technologies Take Learning to a higher level: the technological Pedagogical content Knowledge (TPCK)...

Arts, wellness & creativity: New article

Arts, wellness & creativity: New article

Dr. Paula Thomson and Dr. Vicki Jaque are professors at California State University, Northridge, where they co-direct the exercise and psychophysiology laboratory. They each have their own individual research interests but together they work on researching connections...

What is TPACK? Updated article

There are some articles that sink without a trace. There are others like our 2006 TCRecord article introducing the TPACK framework that continues to be cited... and then there are some that keep getting published over and over (albeit in an updated manner). Here is...

I can resist everything except temptation (or marshmallows)

Have you heard of the marshmallow experiment? It is a pretty famous experiment conducted at Stanford back in the 60's. Walter Mischel a psychologist conducted this experiment on four-year olds in which the children were given one marshmallow and promised a second...

New presentation tool

Todd Edwards at Miami University just told me about this new presentation tool called Prezi.... You have to see it to believe it. Just amazing. Check it out at http://prezi.com/

APA & Torture

I had written previously (here and here) about the American Psychological Association's long connection with torture and other coercive information gathering techniques. I am still bothered by it. Today's NYTimes has a op-ed by Stanley Fish (titled Psychology and...

Peer review in the science classroom

Peer review in the science classroom

Fig. 1: Header image. Credits: Illustration by Punya Mishra. License CC-BY-NC. The scientific method is a myth. In more ways than one. Typically in school you are taught that the scientific method consists of making observations, developing hypotheses, testing them by...

A published poet! Yes!

I am now, officially, a published poet!             My poem on imaginary numbers (The Mathematical "i") was published in the March 2013 issue of At Right Angles, a school mathematics journal.  You can read my poem on my website here: The Mathematical "i" You can...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *