Posts Tagged ‘brain waves’

SmartCap Reads Brain Waves to Monitor Workers’ Fatigue Levels

January 31st, 2012 01:59 admin View Comments


Zothecula writes “You don’t need to be an expert in occupational safety to know that worker fatigue is one of the leading causes of workplace accidents — this particularly applies to people who operate heavy machinery or drive for a living. While it would be great if all employees simply took a break when fatigue started setting in, it can sometimes be difficult for people to tell just how tired they really are. That, or they decide that they just want to push through and get the job done, drowsiness be damned. An invention from Australia’s EdanSafe, however, takes the guesswork out of the picture. It’s called the SmartCap, and it measures employee fatigue in real time by monitoring its wearer’s brain waves.”

Source: SmartCap Reads Brain Waves to Monitor Workers’ Fatigue Levels

Paralyzed Patients Control Robot With Brain Waves

September 6th, 2011 09:50 admin View Comments


sciencehabit writes with a writeup of a French research paper in Science. From the article: “They’re not quite psychic yet, but machines are getting better at reading your mind. Researchers have invented a new, noninvasive method for recording patterns of brain activity and using them to steer a robot. Scientists hope the technology will give ‘locked in’ patients … the ability to interact with others and even give the illusion of being physically present … with friends and family.” The really interesting thing here is that people who had not used their limbs in years were able to learn how to control the robot (as well as the control group did) after being trained only an hour a week for six weeks.

Source: Paralyzed Patients Control Robot With Brain Waves

Using Brain Waves Can Shorten Braking Distance

August 1st, 2011 08:41 admin View Comments


cheros writes “A BBC article reports on work at the Berlin Institute of technology where brainwaves are used to trigger brakes. Apparently this cuts braking distance by more than 3m (10ft), but I have reservations about skull electrodes in any circumstances. I’ll stick with radar, thanks.”

Source: Using Brain Waves Can Shorten Braking Distance

How Brains React to Sound Can Separate Conscious From Vegetative Patients

May 13th, 2011 05:42 admin View Comments

What’s the News: A non-invasive test that measures brain waves could help doctors better diagnose whether a patient is truly in a vegetative state, according to a preliminary study published today in Science. What’s more, the results suggest that a particular pathway of communication in the brain is disrupted in vegetative patients but not patients with somewhat less severe brain damage—which could not only improve diagnosis, but help researchers better understand these tragic conditions.

How the Heck:

  • The researchers recorded the brain activity of 21 people with severe brain injuries and 22 healthy controls using an EEG, a set of electrodes placed on the scalp that pick up electrical signals generated by the brain’s neurons firing. Of the patients with brain damage, eight had been previously diagnosed as being in a vegetative state, while the other thirteen were in a minimally conscious state, meaning they retained some level of conscious awareness and ability to interact.
  • While recording the subjects’ brainwaves, the researchers played each of them a series of sounds with unexpected changes of tone (a one-time warble in the note). When healthy people and patients in a minimally conscious state heard the blip, their brain waves showed a spike that lasted around 170 milliseconds. For patients in a vegetative state, the spike lasted less than 100 milliseconds. That may not sound like much, but 70 milliseconds is a significant chunk of time when you’re looking at brainwaves.
  • The researchers made a mathematical model, combining their data with information about how different areas of the brain are connected to see what neurological processes might have led to this pattern of brain waves. Communication from the frontal cortex—a high-level brain region that’s important in decision making and rational thought—to other parts of the brain seemed to be disrupted in vegetative patients, they found.
  • In other patients and healthy controls, the surprising sound triggered auditory brain regions to send signals to the frontal cortex, which then responded by sending another set of signals. In vegetative patients, the auditory regions still sent signals to the frontal cortex—but the frontal cortex didn’t send any back.

What’s the Context:

  • Current methods of testing whether someone is truly in a vegetative state are time-consuming and often depend on judgment calls by clinicians. Up to 40% of patients in a minimally conscious state may be incorrectly diagnosed as vegetative, earlier work has found. Using objective recordings of brain activity rather than subjective assessments could make diagnosis easier and vastly reduce the number of mistakes.
  • Other researchers have also investigated ways to use brain scans to determine whether a patient is in a vegetative state, such as using an MRI scanner to pick up brain activity suggesting responsiveness in patients who can’t communicate.

Not So Fast:

  • The study was preliminary, and involved only a small number of patients. To suss out whether this test will make an effective diagnostic tool, the researchers say, more patients must be tested.

Reference: Melanie Boly et al. “Preserved Feedforward But Impaired Top-Down Processes in the Vegetative State.” Science, May 13, 2011. DOI: 10.1126/science.1202043

Source: How Brains React to Sound Can Separate Conscious From Vegetative Patients

Thought-Controlled Apps On Android May Not Be Far

November 25th, 2010 11:37 admin View Comments

Julie188 writes “A small PC device company wants to bring thought-controlled apps to the Android market. Mind Technologies (once known by the cute name of Jedi Mind) has promised to make it so. Mind Technologies makes PC devices (a game controller and mouse) that work with the strange-but-true Emotiv headset. Emotive uses brain waves to operate machines. Although it sounds far fetched, electroencephalogram (EEG) controllers do work, but the products on the market so far are not as easy to use, let alone master, as their makers claim.”

Source: Thought-Controlled Apps On Android May Not Be Far

Translating Brain Waves Into Words

September 8th, 2010 09:17 admin View Comments

cortex writes with an excerpt from the L.A. Times: “In a first step toward helping severely paralyzed people communicate more easily, Utah researchers have shown that it is possible to translate recorded brain waves into words, using a grid of electrodes placed directly on the brain. … The device could benefit people who have been paralyzed by stroke, Lou Gehrig’s disease or trauma and are ‘locked in’ — aware but unable to communicate except, perhaps, by blinking an eyelid or arduously moving a cursor to pick out letters or words from a list. … Some researchers have been attempting to ‘read’ speech centers in the brain using electrodes placed on the scalp. But such electrodes ‘are so far away from the electrical activity that it gets blurred out,’ [University of Utah bioengineer Bradley] Greger said. … He and his colleagues instead use arrays of tiny microelectrodes that are placed in contact with the brain, but not implanted. In the current study, they used two arrays, each with 16 microelectrodes.”

Source: Translating Brain Waves Into Words

The Brain’s Secret For Sleeping Like a Log

August 9th, 2010 08:42 admin View Comments

An anonymous reader writes “Why can some people sleep through anything? According to this article in Wired Science, some lucky people have an extra helping of a certain kind of brain static that essentially blocks out noise and other stimuli. These ‘sleep spindles’ can be detected via EEG, and show up as brief bursts of high-frequency brain waves; some people naturally produce more than others. The researchers say these spindles are produced by the thalamus, the brain region that acts as a waystation for sensory information. If the thalamus is busy producing sleep spindles, sensory information can’t make it through the thalamus to the cortex, the perceptive part of the brain.”

Source: The Brain’s Secret For Sleeping Like a Log

Reading Terrorists’ Minds About Imminent Attack

July 31st, 2010 07:00 admin View Comments

An anonymous reader writes “Imagine technology that allows you to get inside the mind of a terrorist to know how, when, and where the next attack will occur. In the Northwestern study, when researchers knew in advance specifics of the planned attacks by the make-believe ‘terrorists,’ they were able to correlate P300 brain waves to guilty knowledge with 100 percent accuracy in the lab, said J. Peter Rosenfeld, professor of psychology in Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.”

Source: Reading Terrorists’ Minds About Imminent Attack

Research Lets You Type Words By Thought Alone

March 23rd, 2010 03:15 admin View Comments

An anonymous reader writes “How about typing on a computer just by thinking about it? The downside is you have to wear a skull cap with electrodes that capture your brain waves like an EEG machine. According to this EE Times story a team of researchers from Belgium and the Netherlands has presented Mind Speller, a thought-to-text device intended to help people with movement disabilities.

The system does rely on a lot of processing on a remote computer but it is a wireless system. And these thought-to-computer systems have wider applicability than medical support. One of the research groups involved in this development has already looked at wireless electroencephalography (EEG) to enable measures of emotion to be fed back into computer games.”

Source: Research Lets You Type Words By Thought Alone

The Computer That Can Read Your Mind

March 3rd, 2010 03:09 admin View Comments

magacious writes “Gtec has showcased a computer that can read your mind over at the CeBIT trade show in Germany. Designed primarily to help those who can’t write or speak, the system makes use of a skull cap and wireless technology to transform brain waves into letters. It’s the first patient-ready computer-brain interface, according to its Austrian makers. It takes around 30 seconds per letter for the computer to recognise what you’re saying the first time you use it, according to Gtec, but this improves vastly with practice. ‘”One second per letter is very tough,” Gtec’s Engelbert Grunbacher said, adding users can usually easily get to five or 10 letters per minute. “You learn to be relaxed, focused. You improve.”‘ It might look quite wacky (pictures here) and at €9,000 the system is not cheap, but it could help enhance the lives of many people who have a great deal to say but no real way of saying it.”

Source: The Computer That Can Read Your Mind