Controlling Computers with Your Mind
November 8, 2010 Scientists used a brain-computer interface to show how the activity of just a few brain cells can control the display of pictures on a computer screen. The finding sheds light on how single brain cells contribute to attention and conscious thought. Patients were asked to focus on 1 of 2 superimposed images, here of Michael Jackson and Marilyn Monroe. Researchers have been making great progress in developing brain-computer interfaces—devices that let a person's thoughts guide the actions of a computer. This technology can potentially help paralysis patients control prosthetic limbs and communicate. A team of scientists led by Dr. The scientists recruited 12 patients with drug-resistant epilepsy. In a previous study, the researchers found that individual brain cells respond more strongly to certain images than to others. For this study, the scientists first identified neurons in each person that responded selectively to 4 different images.
Related: Our Future