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Cutting-edge Irish research to help people control objects with their minds

The implications are startling, from a paralysed person controlling a wheelchair to an amputee operating a prosthetic limb.

Image: Shutterstock/iatlo

Updated 18.00

THERE ARE MANY technological fantasies that the world may one day bring about as reality.

The idea of a smartphone would probably have sent a 1960s science fiction enthusiast into apoplexies of excitement had the technology been available back then.

But some things you might not imagine to be possible could be closer than you think. Like mind-controlled technology for one.

Cutting-edge research is ongoing at Trinity College, Dublin at present into the possibilities surrounding electronics controlled by human brainwaves.

The technology, known as Brain-Computer-Interface (BCI) will have many practical applications, in clinical settings for example, helping the paralysed or those with mobility issues interact more completely with their surroundings.

And then there are the possibilities for games and other multimedia applications.

not stupid 2 Wrong again Sarah Connor Source: Youtube

“Nowadays, it is common to use our voices and gestures to control electronic devices such as smartphones and computer games,” says Dr Marnaz Arvaneh of the Trinity College Institute of Neuroscience.

Soon, we might even be able to remotely pilot genetically engineered aliens as they did in the movie Avatar.

ava Source: Youtube

This could make mowing the lawn a whole lot easier.

BCI works by mapping the unique patterns of brain activity that are associated with the user’s intentions onto signals for communication and control.

In very simple layman’s terms, it learns what kinds of brain activity an individual associates with specific responses.

In real-world terms BCI could be used for directing a wheelchair, controlling a prosthetic arm, or as a word spelling program, with the researchers hoping to enable paralysed patients to conveniently express their intentions to the world.

The research is being showcased by Dr Arvaneh at Discover Research Dublin 2015, which takes place on the university’s campus this Friday 25 September from 4pm.

As she says, this is where “science-fiction stories about mind-controlled devices are coming true”.

You can book free tickets to two workshops on mind controlled computers at the event here 

Originally published 6.05am

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