What are the commercial promises of brain-computer interfaces, and how will they further connect us to the promises of the metaverse? These interfaces, initially sensory (on the scalp or skin), and possibly through brain implants in the future, could be the eventual platforms transforming all parts of our diverse societies.
The Brain-Computer Merge
You may not have noticed, but with each passing day, we are slowly merging more and more with the technology around us. Our smartphones are our tools for instant communication and the answers to many of our questions, allowing us to focus on other things rather than that which occupied our minds in the past.
We have implanted pacemakers and defibrillators that tell the cardiologist all about our hearts and correct our irregularities. We have implanted lenses in our eyes to fix vision issues. The technology around us now, especially with our smartphones, will not represent the most common interface in our future.
What our smartphones do, and much more will likely be incorporated into our bodies. Though google glass was not a successful project, many of its users were the wrong targets, and it was also burdened with tech glitches and security concerns. It did, however, show that we could bring technology closer, supplying useful information and sending sound directly into the ear with bone conduction.
As brain-computer interface (BCI) systems progress, they will be an essential step forward in the brain-computer merge. A BCI’s role is the interpretation of the user’s neural activity. A BCI is just part of an environment that is more wired, has more sensors, and is digitally connected.
With the current generation of experimental brain-computer interfaces, using only their minds, humans can play video games, articulate prosthetic limbs, control their own limbs, work wheelchairs, and more. BCIs have the potential to communicate with patients that suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, head injuries, and stroke, allowing them to control computers that help them speak.
BCI technology will likely take a turn for enhancing sensory connection and communication. The most common use for BCI technology is the directional control of a computer cursor. Imagine moving your mouse and clicking without the need for the mouse.
This is already being done only with electrophysiological signals (brain and blood signals to a system of sensors). This BCI control system has already been utilized by users (both humans and animals) to control the external world without the need for conventional neuromuscular pathways (speech).
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