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Brain–Computer Interface Technologies in the Coming Decades

Figure 1

Figure 1
Brain–computer interfaces for gaming. On the left a gamer uses a BCI to toggle zooming in a first-person shooter game; on the right, one of the coauthors tests out his ability to use a BCI to adjust the speed of the system's fans to control the height of a ball floating on air above a platform.

Figure 2

Figure 2
BCIs based on pervasive technologies embedded in an office environment. A task-oriented BCI includes: (A) dry, wireless EEG sensors embedded into a baseball cap; (B) EEG signal collection and processing on portable smartphone, which also integrates with other devices in the environment; and is used to (C) improve human–computer interaction and work performance from online detection of cognitive and affective brain states, potentially including error-related signals, emotion, and time-on-task fatigue. The use of the task-oriented BCI avails opportunistic BCIs that (D) modify music selection and image in digital frame based on online detection of affective state; (E) alter lighting and office shades due to detection of oncoming migraine through EEG, and/or (C) cue the user to potential nonwork activities based on lack of sleep-based fatigue or stress. In addition, longer term data collection and analysis could result in diagnostics and recommendations for neural ailments.

Figure 3

Figure 3
An example of a potential opportunistic medical diagnosis-based BCI. Based on diagnosis by a doctor (e.g., depression), a BCI could be used to detect particular neural states or activities and politely suggest activities to alter the mental state or lifestyle of the patient.