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Advantages of Brain Computer Interface | disadvantages of Brain Computer Interface

This page covers advantages and disadvantages of Brain Computer Interface (BCI) and BCI components.. It mentions benefits or advantages of Brain Computer Interface and drawbacks or disadvantages of Brain Computer Interface.

What is Brain Computer Interface (BCI)?

It is a system which allows individual with severe neuromuscular disabilities to communicate or perform ordinary tasks exclusively via brain waves using EEG. There are mainly two types viz. one way BCI and two way BCI. One way BCI either accept commands from brain or send signals to it but not both. Two way BCI allow brains and external devices to exchange information in both directions.

Based on technology major types of BCIs in animals and humans include invasive, semi-invasive, non-invasive, stimulating and bidirectional (or two way) BCI.

Invasive BCI : In this type, devices are implanted directly into the brain. They provide highest quality signals. These devices are used to provide functionality to paralyzed people.

Non-invasive BCI : EEG signal is taken by placing electrodes on the scalp.

Semi-invasive BCI : ECoG signal is taken from electrodes placed in dura mater or in arachnoid mater beneath the skull.

Brain Computer Interface
Image courtesy : www.researchgate.net

The electrical activity of brain is displayed in the form of brain waves of different frequencies (and amplitudes) corresponding to different situations of mind. Brain waves are categorized mainly into following types.
Infra-low wave : < 0.5 Hz
Delta wave : 0.5 Hz to 4 Hz
Theta wave : 4 Hz to 8 Hz
Alpha wave : 8 Hz to 14 Hz
Beta wave : 14 Hz to 30 Hz
Gamma wave : 38 Hz to 42 Hz

Following are the components of a Brain Computer Interface (BCI).
1. Signal Acquisition
2. Preprocessing (Digitize)
3. Feature extraction
4. Classification (using translation algorithm)
5. Signal Output (in the form of device commands)

BCI applications provide feedback to the user based on signal output of BCI. Moreover signal output can be used to drive external devices.

Some of the uses of BCI are as follows.
• Provide disabled people with communication, environment control and movement restoration.
• Provide enhanced control of devices such as wheel chairs, vehicles or assistance robots for people with disabilities.
• Provide additional channel of control in computer games.

Benefits or advantages of Brain Computer Interface

Following are the benefits or advantages of Brain Computer Interface:
➨It allows paralyzed people to control the prosthetic limbs with their mind.
➨Transmit visual images to the mind of a blind person which allows them to see.
➨Transmit auditory data to the mind of a deaf person which allows them to hear.
➨It allows gamers to control the video games with their minds.
➨It allows a mute person to have their thoughts to be displayed and spoken by computer.

Drawbacks or disadvantages of Brain Computer Interface

Following are the drawbacks or disadvantages of Brain Computer Interface:
➨Electrodes outside of the skull can detect very few electric signals from the brain.
➨Electrodes placed inside teh skull create scar tissue in the brain.
➨The present BCI technology is crude.
➨BCI research is still at initial stages and not at matured stage.
➨Ethical issues may prevent its development.

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