Monday, April 18, 2016

O Is For OpenBCI: An Open Source Brain-Computer Interface Platform For the Masses #AtoZChallenge

Ultracortex (Mark IV) EEG Headset Kit

Available for pre-order (expected ship date: A


     It's here: an open-source brain-computer interface, along with at least two products (the Ultracortex, a 3-D printed electroencephalogram EEG headset and the Ganglion, a circuit board) which will allow you to control mechanical devices or computers with brainwaves.
     The prototype for the Open BCI concept was funded by DARPA and conceived and built by Joel Murphy and Conor Russomanno. In 2014 they launched a successful crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter and developed the Ultracortex (which has electrodes that record your body's electrical signals) and the Ganglion (which tramsmits those signals to your computer).
     Both products are reasonably priced (the Ultracortex between $300-$400, the Ganglion board kit for $100) The hardware and software are open-source, so that you can 3D print your own headset as well as tweak, modify and hack to your heart's content.

     Combining OpenBCI with something called the Human-Human Interface allowed hackers to control the arm muscles of others - even thousands of miles away. (I immediately thought of that old bullying game why are you hitting yourself?)
 
     A street artist called TemptOne was diagnosed with ALS in 2003. ALS is an incurable, progressively paralyzing disease; the artist had given up hope that he would be able to continue his art. Enter the modern-day superheroes: a collective of hacktivists at the Not Impossible Labs who created Eyewriter, an open source wearable eye tracker which "traced TemptOne's eye movements and projected them onto the side of a building. The Eyewriter couldn’t have been more effective, but Tempt would eventually lose all motor control of even his eyes, so the team at Not Impossible accepted it as a challenge and developed a next generation device using a BCI called the BrainWriter.
It uses OpenBCI’s Arduino platform and the open source 3D printed “spider claw” headset." *

     It's pretty easy to see both the "good" and "bad" potential uses of this new technology. The future is here, and it's both exciting and scary.

     But ain't it cool?


*Pate, Josh (2014-09-16). "Brainwriter Helps Graffiti Artist Suffering from ALS to Draw Using Openbci"
. Neurogadget. Retrieved 2016-03-28.

8 comments:

  1. Oh, that is so incredibly cool! There are so many possibilities for that one! *Rolls up sleeves to start writing*

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    1. I know - it's almost too much for me to process. And it's real!!

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  2. Like all technologies, it is neutral and has, as you rightly say, bot good and bad potential.

    If you thought mind control was scary, think about body control. And if you worry about how hackers and scammers might abuse it; think what the military and "security" agencies could do with it!

    Keith Channing A-Zing from http://keithkreates.com

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    1. Absolutely. For the "good guys", it could provide a non-lethal means of disarming/incapacitating the enemy. For the "bad guys"...*shudder*

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  3. That's wild that it's a reality. And a little scary.

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    1. I'm really excited that it appears to hold so much promise for people with various degenerative or incapacitating conditions.

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  4. This is sci-fi actually coming alive! But if it helps those with debilitating nervous conditions, then why not?
    @yenforblue from
    Spice of Life!

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    1. I think there are some marvelous medical discoveries in the near future!

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