Decoding the Human Brain: Charting the Next Big Territory in BCI
Human brain is a peculiar organ, forever keeping scientists hooked. A group of researchers from Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences Leipzig recently conducted an interesting study. In these efforts, they were joined by researchers from Public University of Navarre, and TU Berlin.
About the Study:
Studies show that brain activity occurs even when people think of certain tasks. And, this principal underlies BCI (Brain-Computer Interface). By measuring this activity by reading signals, and then analyzing them, it is possible to operate computers and prosthetics.
Researchers note that hour long session of BCI training leads to notable impact on neuronal structure of the brain. Moreover, there is significant impact on its function as well.
To carry the study, researchers worked with people who did not have tech experience. And, two types of BCI impacts were thus examined. Group one, here performed a thought activity. Mainly, subjects in this set thought of moving limbs. With this, researchers noted brain’s motor system. Group two, worked with letters – recognized and selected them on a screen, activating visual center of the brain.
Consequently, the study showed that visual tasks are more effective and scope for improvement here is low. On the other hand, motor system needs training and practice. To make the process impactful, MRT (Magnetic Resonance Tomography) examination carried both before and after the visual activation process helped.
Dr. Till Nierhaus explains that physical training (intense) impacts brain plasticity – both functional and structural. Here it is noteworthy that the former deals with signal intensity. And, the latter plays a role in formation of and change in nerve cells.
This led to researchers looking for answers regarding use of plasticity in BCI experiments which are purely mental. As Dr. Carmen Vidaurre explains – it is important to know if subjects’ thoughts are as potent as actual task performance.