May 9, 2024 at 12:36 pm

This Brain Cap Will Let You Play Video Games With Your Mind Right Now Without Surgery

by Trisha Leigh

Source: University of Texas Austin

Scientists have been working on brain-computer interface products for at least a decade, with Elon Musk’s “Neuralink” being the most recent – and arguably most publicized – attempt to date.

But listen. If you’re a little squeamish about the idea of a chip in your brain, this cap will apparently do just fine.

This new study claims this black and red cap lined with brainwave-detecting electrodes is designed to used by anyone, any time.

Other brain-computer interface devices (BCIs), like Neuralink, have to be implanted in your actual brain. That comes with obvious risks, ones that lead author Satyam Kumar says were on their minds.

“When we think about this in a clinical setting, this technology will make it so we won’t need a specialized team to do this calibration process, which is long and tedious. It will be much faster to move from patient to patient.”

Source: University of Texas Austin

To avoid not only tricky and risky surgery, but the need to fine-tune a device to a specific user’s brain, these researchers designed what they believe is a “one-size-fits-all solution.”

They used AI to develop what’s known as a “decoder,” training it on an “expert” human subject using the cap to complete a single game of balancing a digital bar.

Those capabilities turned out to be transferable.

18 subjects who had no experience using BCI tech were able to train for the bar game and a racing game at the same time in just five sessions.

While showing off the product at SXSW, it took just a few minutes for volunteers from the crowd to learn how to control two hand are arm robots using the cap.

Normally, it can take months to acquire the skills needed to properly navigate using a BCI.

Source: PNAS Nexus

There is more work to be done, like making sure their tech can be used by people with disabilities as well.

“The point of this technology is to help people, help them in their everyday lives. We’ll continue down this path wherever it takes us in the pursuit of helping people.”

This sounds pretty cool, and also like it would appeal to more folks.

Elective brain surgery isn’t for everyone.

If you enjoyed that story, check out what happened when a guy gave ChatGPT $100 to make as money as possible, and it turned out exactly how you would expect.