The news about Elon Musk’s latest venture – a brain-computer interface company called Neuralink proves that this technology is significant in enabling development of advanced thought-controlled devices. What is now popularly called as Brain-computer interface (BCI) or mind-machine interface (MMI) is a direct communication channel between the brain and an implanted or external device. BCI enables bi-directional communication between the brain and the device – either the brain can control/monitor the device or the device can control/monitor the brain.
This development from Elon Musk is expected to provide better quality of life for people affected by stroke. It can also perhaps assist in monitoring concentration in human brain, and enable better training of people affected with disorders such as ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), which can further proliferate the adoption of such technology. Additional healthcare applications could be in therapy and prostheses, which are expected to be major focus areas.
In the future, this technology could be used to control household smart solutions enabling connected living via thoughts. It also has attractive opportunities in the consumer electronics space, particularly in gaming.
BCI is gaining prominence as researchers across various departments from the Brown University, the Case Western Reserve University, the Stanford University, and the US Department of Veteran’s Affairs are engaged in a collaborative R&D effort on remedies for brain and neurologic diseases, and initiated the BrainGate consortium.
Neuromarketing is a new tool in market research, which extracts emotional and cognitive information of persons using technologies such as brain imaging, biosensors, and eye tracking. This could facilitate in creating new business opportunities using electric signals from the brain.
The writer is vice president, TechVision, Frost & Sullivan