What is a hybrid brain machine interface?
The brain is an intricate circuit of neurons acting as the main command center for your body constantly dictating your every movement, thought, and emotion. The capabilities of the human brain with its vast ability to store knowledge, memories, emotions, etc. is often considered the reason that differentiates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom. However, sometimes this central command can malfunction due to neurological diseases(i.e. epilepsy) or injury which can affect normal bodily functions. Different palliative treatments are being researched for these malfunctions. The emphasis on this website is to give you a glimpse of a different type of treatment for neurological disorders and injuries affecting sensory and motor functions.
Hybrid brain machine interfaces (HBMIs) are artificial electronic or mechanical devices implanted in the human brain which brain signals can control. There are two types of HBMIs being researched, Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 HBMIs work by continuous stimulation of brain tissues, therefore stimulating parts of the brain which have been injured, and as a result, the damaged sensory functions such as sight or hearing can restored. Type 2 HBMIs require mapping of specific brain signals, the training of the brain, and as a result, the operation of an artificial device like a prosthetic limb.
Too good to be true. You might be asking yourself at this point...
What is the future of HBMIs?
Well read on friends and you will find out. The rest of this website will help familiarize with HBMIs by primarily concentrating on Type II HBMIs and the break through research that took place at Duke University. The building of HBMIs begins with the recording of brain activity in real-time. In this case, a monkey’s brain was used to record a large population of neuronal signals from different areas of the brain. Then, the brain signals were translated into mathematical equations. These equations described the movement of the monkey’s arm and were successfully utilized for the movement of a robotic arm.
A lot of research (a.k.a. blood, sweat, and tears) still needs to be done, but in the beauty of science, dedicated scientists have already started to uncover the circuitry of the brain and with patience….only time can tell.
So, who knows maybe you’ll be helping in the advancement of hybrid brain machine interfaces.
Current technological techniques have been developed over recent years to improve control and precise movements with these HBMIs.