[FoRK] Annihilation from within...

Jeff Bone < jbone at place.org > on > Thu Dec 7 07:30:17 PST 2006

On Dec 7, 2006, at 2:25 AM, Dave Long wrote:

>> obstacles to overcome with BCI are far steeper.
>
> I am a little behind on my reading in this area, but my  
> understanding of where we are now:
>
> - external measurement is noisy and low-res.  Scalp measurements  
> naturally so, fMRI because there are intrinsic tradeoffs between  
> scan rate, resolution, and field strength[0] (even if one thinks in  
> russian, "Привет Товарищ" takes a couple of  
> minutes, as current practice has bandwidths of spb, not bps)

The real issues here are materials science issues (tunable, high-rez,  
low-power room temperature electromagnets and pickup assemblies) and  
real-time signal processing and discrimination issues.  There've been  
some serious advances in both, but particularly the former, of late.   
And there are lots of industrial applications (including some  
military ones) that will probably push both miniaturization and  
commercialization once the materials science advances are fully  
realized.  With respect to the latter, work on e.g. GPU tech as well  
as the multicoring stuff is going to help.  We're going to have a  
software technology lag (concurrency still too hard) but other forces  
(dealing with generalized programmability of multi-core CPUs, gaming  
driving GPU programming, etc., and indeed increased focus on  
distributed, real-time, high-bandwidth / huge-data apps such as the  
stuff I work on these days) that are helping push that along.

> - internal measurement, as pointed out, requires brain surgery.   
> Wireless implants currently seem like the best way to go, in terms  
> of avoiding tissue response and hygiene issues.  Luckily for this  
> field, the head has had the best track record in terms of retaining  
> abutments, but as far as I am aware, these currently fall into two  
> distinct categories:  (a) structural support, and (b) temporary for  
> experiments.

Agreed, and I agree that both internal measurement and input (which  
requires interfacing to neurons or at least nerve bundles directly,  
for example splicing into the optic nerve) has the aforementioned  
multiple exogenous friction factors.

jb


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