The Current State of Medical Bci Technology

Topics: Brain, Nervous system, Neuroscience Pages: 4 (1671 words) Published: January 19, 2013
For ten long years, Scott Routley had been lost. Sure, his family could visit him every day, hold his hand and see his face, but, being in a vegetative state, they were no more aware of each other, than if they had been on distant planets. Or so medical science has believed. But, according to the BBC, on November 12th, 2012, something extraordinary happened. Using brain-computer interface technology, Scott’s doctor was able to ask him questions, and receive coherent answers. Using a combination of techniques, Professor Adrian Owen was able to ask Mr. Routley if he was in pain, and Scott said no. Just like that, one of the most troubling moral questions a family can encounter- that of whether their father, mother, son or daughter is suffering while in a coma, and whether it might be kinder to let them go- was answered. Now, Scott’s case doesn’t provide the answer for other all the other families suffering like his, but it provides insight into one of the most exciting fields of medical technology; Brain-Computer Interface, or BCI. Brain Computer Interfacing is an idea that’s floated around science fiction for decades, serious experiments for years, and medical science only recently, but is still in its earliest stages. So today, we’ll be examining this young technology, by looking first at where it stands today, then its uses in the medical field, and finally, both some exciting and worrying implications. Before talking about the medical applications, and then the future of the science, it’s important to look at Brain Computer Interfacing as a whole. We can do this in two ways, we can look at the history of the study, and then current practices in the field. Like most of modern technology, Brain Computer Interfacing has its roots in the work of Nikola Tesla, who discovered that you could detect the frequency of electronic waves Then, in 1924 Hans Berger used this discovery to measure how electricity and fluids moved in the brain, this according to an April 2012...
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