Nov. 11, 2010
Brain-machine interfaces hold potential for a variety of ends, from helping the neurologically or physically disabled communicate and interact with their environments, to creating thought-controlled computers that
augment the brain with computing power. A group of researchers at Columbia are turning that model on its ear, using brain power to augment computing tasks. Their device couples the human brain and computers to perform tasks neither could do as efficiently on their own.
The device, known as C3Vision (cortically coupled computer vision) taps into the fast processing power of the brain to help computer programs manage complex problem, particularly those posed by image recognition. An electroencephalogram (EEG) cap on the head of a human user is used to detect neurological signals in the brain. The computer then flashes images up on the screen at a rate of about ten per second. The conscious brain doesn’t even have time to adequately consider each image, but the subconscious is hard at work.