Scrolling, clicking, and typing could soon be things of the past thanks to a new device called Brain Talker, which enables users to control a computer using just their brainwaves. The hands-free gadget was unveiled at the recent World Intelligence Congress in China, and while many key details regarding how the chip works are yet to be clarified, it has already caused quite a stir among tech enthusiasts and multi-taskers.
Brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) have the potential to revolutionize the relationship between humans and technology by allowing us to control devices with no verbal communication or physical contact. The potential applications of this are wide-ranging, and could significantly improve the quality of life for people suffering with disabilities.
However, creating efficient BCIs is extremely challenging, as the brain’s electrical signals are often too subtle to detect or too complex to decode. This is partly due to the fact that these signals are very difficult to separate from the background noise that surrounds them.
Borne out of a collaboration between Tianjin University and China Electronics Corporation, Brain Talker is smaller, faster, and more efficient than existing BCIs, allowing for a more accurate reading of brainwaves.
Dong Ming of Tianjin University said in a statement that the device “has the ability to discriminate minor neural electrical signals and decode their information efficiently, which can greatly enhance the speed and accuracy of brain-computer interfaces.”
Exactly how the chip will be worn has not been clarified, although BCIs are generally worn externally, rather than being implanted into a user’s brain. It is hoped that Brain Talker, and other similar devices, could soon be used to help people operate their computers, phones, and other electronics using just the power of their thoughts.
The race to bring an efficient BCI to market is very much heating up, with Elon Musk having recently dropped a hint that his company, Neuralink, could soon be ready to release a product of its own. For the time being, however, we’re all going to have to carry on using our fingers to type, like primitive cavemen.