Did You Know You Can Control Machines with Your Mind(fulness)?

Mindfulness, when applied to mind control may seem like a paradox, but a new study shows that meditation improves an individual’s ability to control a computer directly from their mind.

Brain-computer interface (BCI), sometimes referred to as brain-machine interface, is a technology has been around since the early 1940s, when German neuroscientist Hans Berger invented the electroencephalogram (EEG) and discovered alpha wave activity in the human brain. In the early 1970s, the term “BCI” was coined by Belgian computer scientist Jacques Vidal during his research on biocybernetics at UCLA. The first cochlear implants, a form of BCI technology that inputs artificial sensors into the human auditory system to provide a sense of sound to those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, appeared in 1972. By the mid-1990s, neuroprosthetic devices were being developed, allowing the brain to control artificial limbs.

In recent years, research has focused on developing noninvasive forms of BCI using external “sensing” rather than implants. While BCI responds to how we think, it does not necessarily read our minds. The technology detects fluctuations in brain signals with EEG and analyzes them, translating those readings into commands or actions that are carried out by a machine or device. Though noninvasive BCI technology is widely considered a safer route, it takes longer for the human mind and the machine to sync up, and often lacks precision.

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