Japanese scientists have claimed they have successfully developed a brain–machine interface (BMI) that is capable of controlling the human mind by learning the instructions fed to it.
If true, the new invention could be a game changer and immensely help those with severe motion or speaking disabilities.
While machines that aid motoring skills of handicapped people do exist, the one that this team from the University of Osaka has made is unique in the sense that it significantly reduces the amount of mental load on the user. The brain doesn't have to work as hard to instruct this machine to execute a task, which reduces the overall stress.
"We give learning capabilities to the system by implementing intelligent algorithms, which gradually learn user preferences,” said Christian Isaac Peñaloza Sanchez, a PhD candidate at the University of Osaka, Japan. "At one point it can take control of the devices without the person having to concentrate much to achieve this goal."
Sanchez and company have built a comprehensive database of brain activity, which their BMI uses to predict its commands, without the user having to deliver the entire set of instructions. Hence, it springs into action as soon as the primary thought comes into the user's mind. Moreover, an external device can also be used to trigger these thought processes.
The researchers claim their system can learn up to 90 percent of all the basic tasks, which include things like controlling a wheel chair and general navigations.
The automated feature does open the door for malfunctions and mishaps, since in essence it's a machine controlling the human mind. To solve that issue, this BMI actively seeks cancel orders as soon as a task is assigned to it.
Details about the machine are limited at this moment, but if it does what its makers say, we might be on the verge of something big here.