Monday, April 16, 2012

Brain Scanner Breakthrough

If anybody out there happens to be wondering what to get me for my birthday, one of these would be truly awesome. The iBrain is a personal, portable brain scanner with a USB connection that lets you record data over a period of time and then download it into your computer. This is exactly the device I've wanted for years, since it would finally allow me to perform a magical ritual and then go back over the brainwave changes produced at various phases of the ritual.

KGTV reports that the device, created by San Diego-based NeuroVigil, and dubbed the iBrain, fits over a person's head and measures unique neurological patterns connected to specific thought processes.

Low says the goal is to eventually have a large enough database of these brainwaves that a computer could essentially read a person's thoughts out loud. One person who has already tried out the iBrain is famed physicist Dr. Stephen Hawking.

"We'd like to find a way to bypass his body, pretty much hack his brain," said Low. This past summer, Low traveled to Cambridge, England, where he met with Hawking, who was asked to think "very hard" about completing various tasks while wearing the device.

NeuroVigil says the device could be used at home by individuals and worn during sleep. It comes equipped with a USB port for transferring the recorded data to a local computer.

At the risk of seeming pedantic I will point out that the idea of "reading thoughts" out loud is probably not going to work any time soon because thoughts aren't made of language or even symbols. Mine are odd collections of what I suppose I could describe as multimedia streams with strong visual components. However, if Low is talking about pre-vocalizations (and he probably is) it might very well be possible for the device to allow someone who is unable to speak normally, like Steven Hawking, to communicate using his mind rather than a slow and awkward computer interface.

From the article it sounds like the device is still in the prototype stage, so you're probably not about to find one on Amazon or eBay. Nonetheless, as soon as it becomes available I plan on picking one up and trying it out. There are several hypotheses I have about magical operations and brainwaves that I'm just dying to test.

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John said...

Wow! That and transcranial direct current stimulation (tdcs)make a fine combo.

I'm definitely buying one. :D

Gorizza said...

That sound you hear is Orwell turning in his grave.