Jump to content

Welcome to FutureTimeline.forum
Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to create topics, post replies to existing threads, give reputation to your fellow members, get your own private messenger, post status updates, manage your profile and so much more. If you already have an account, login here - otherwise create an account for free today!

The Brain Twitter Interface [April 2009]

BCI neurotechnology brain-to-computer Twitter 2009

  • Please log in to reply
2 replies to this topic

Yuli Ban

Yuli Ban

    Born Again Singularitarian

  • Moderators
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22,221 posts
  • LocationNew Orleans, LA

The Brain Twitter Interface

Researchers turn thoughts into tweets

21 April 2009

Earlier this month, Adam Wilson posted a message to Twitter. But instead of using his hands to type, the University of Wisconsin biomedical engineer used his brain. "USING EEG TO SEND TWEET," he thought.

That may be a modern equivalent of Alexander Graham Bell's "Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you." Brain-computer interfaces are no longer just a gee-whiz technology, but a platform for researchers interested in immediate real-world applications for people who can think, but can't move.

"We're more interested in the applications," said Justin Williams, head of the University of Wisconsin's Neural Interfaces lab. "How do we actually make these technologies useful for people with disabilities?"

The researchers built upon the BCI2000, a software tool pioneered by Williams and Wadsworth Center neural injury specialist Gerwin Schalk. The software translates thought-induced changes in the scalp's electrical fields to control an on-screen cursor.

The BCI2000 is already used by 120 laboratories worldwide, but its communications applications have been largely restricted to messages appearing on a nearby screen.

"A lot of these have been scientific exercises, geared to writing things out but not really doing anything with it," said Williams. "We wanted to say, that's not how a person would want to communicate, especially with the advent of online communications."

The work is special because it meets the immediate needs of locked-in people, said Purdue University biomedical engineer Kevin Otto, who was not involved in the project.

"It's in tune with what patients want," said Otto. "Social networking and communication is really their first desire. There's been quite a bit of success, and a few demonstrations, helping people to e-mail. But the same reason why people choose Twitter and Facebook over email is the same reason why this is significant."

Williams described email as a a relatively difficult and inefficient task for someone on a brain-computer interface.

"It's difficult enough to be able to spell words, much less find an address book and select names. The overhead involved in these applications is just too much," he said. "Twitter is very serendipitous. It handles all the things that we've been struggling to make easy for a patient to do. It puts messages where people can find them. Let the world know how you're doing, what you're thinking, and they'll find you. And that's perfect for these patients and their families."

Wilson will soon install the program in the homes of 10 people already outfitted with trial versions of the BCI2000. That system is not yet commercially available, but that day could come soon.

"It's at the point where it's beyond proof of concept," Wilson said. "We know it works. The next question is how to integrate it into people's homes, so that a caretaker could set it up without the need for outside help."

Other brain-computer interfaces may someday help people control robotic prostheses, even body-sheathing exoskeletons that return a user's body to functionality.

"Those are going to be great applications in the future, but at the same time we need to see what BCIs can do right now," said Williams.

Wilson's later brain-to-Twitter messages included "GO BADGERS" and "SPELLING WITH MY BRAIN."

A thread from the original FutureTimeline forums. In fact, this is one of the oldest threads on that forum. Top 10 oldest threads, IIRC.
The scholarly news article.
And this seems to be the Wired article that the original thread was based on.
As another point to show how many little things changed just in the past ten years...

Wilson, who used the interface to post the Twitter update, likens it to texting on a cell phone. “You have to press a button four times to get the character you want,” he says of texting. “So this is kind of a slow process at first.”

Yeah. Remember back when that's how texting worked? Youths today literally have no idea.

And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.




  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,424 posts
  • LocationBarbary Lands

I thought there was a quicker way you seniors did it that meant you didn't actually have to press 4 times on those old phones, when I was given a pretty out of date model once for temporary use. I simply couldn't accept the fact that you had to press 4 times for one letter, and that I was just somehow doing it wrong.


EDIT: And how the hell do you dial in letters on a phone number, like in those infomercials? Do you just type out the numbers where the letters are? 

Outlook's secret song of the ~week: https://youtu.be/GMYezR1cwFA



    Anarchist without an adjective

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,521 posts


EDIT: And how the hell do you dial in letters on a phone number, like in those infomercials? Do you just type out the numbers where the letters are? 


Yes, you would hit the number that corresponds to the the letter. So if the number was AAZ and 1 had an "ABCD" under it and 9 had a "WXYZ" under it you would dial 119.  

Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: BCI, neurotechnology, brain-to-computer, Twitter, 2009

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users