While we might not yet be able to levitate objects by simply using our brainwaves, the rigorous study of brainwaves has certainly led to some astounding developments. Dr. Christoph Guger, CEO and President of g•tec (gtec.at), a medical engineering product development company, introduces the spectacular technology behind their groundbreaking work that allows an individual to control external devices with their thoughts.
Dr. Guger’s company, g•tec, is a pioneer in the field of brain–computer interface (BCI) technology. BCI creates a direct pathway of communication between a wired brain and a particular external device. Dr. Guger received his education in biomedical engineering at the University of Technology, Graz, Austria. Guger’s PhD work centered around real-time analysis of EEG data for the application into, and development of, brain-computer interface technology.
The medical engineering CEO explains the complex process that BCI uses to allow users who are paralyzed to communicate via brainwaves. While the process is highly advanced, in simplest terms the BCI displays multiple characters and images on a screen and the user responds to the flashing images. Brainwaves are detected in this process and the computer translates the user’s brainwave responses into sentences.
Guger expounds upon the advances in stroke rehabilitation that BCI has enabled by allowing the user’s brainwaves to initiate electrical stimulators such that the brain learns to control the body again. And Guger discusses how BCI, amazingly, allows for select coma patients to actually respond via their brainwaves to yes / no questions. Thus the BCI, in these cases, is not only allowing physicians to gain a better understanding of their patient, but it provides families with renewed hope, and a connection to their loved ones previously thought to have been lost forever. BCI, in some cases, has miraculously given coma patients a new confidence that aids them in their ability to return to a conscious state.
The g•tec CEO gives an overview of some of the exciting new developments coming soon in the BCI technology arena, such as events in which programmers, designers, and artists come together for several days to develop new brain-computer interface applications. Some of the areas being developed are for controlling drones, prosthetics, controls for television and lighting systems, surgical applications, and so much more.
Guger’s company, g•tec developed and launched their first commercially available BCI system back in 1999. Today, their advanced BCI system is in over 60 countries worldwide.