Hitachi’s new neuroimaging technique allows its operator to switch a train set on and off by thought alone, and the Japanese company aims to commercialize it within five years.
Mind-machine interfacing isn’t unheard of: just weeks ago, a young patient was given a chance to play Space Invaders through the power of thought. And this all comes hot on the heels of a revolution in microsurgery, allowing artificial limbs to be wired to the brain by reusing existing nerves.
The difference this time is that Hitachi’s system doesn’t invasively co-opt the nervous sytem, instead using a topographic modelling system to measure blood flow in the brain, translating the images into signals that are sent to the controller. So far, this new technique only allows for simple switching decisions, but Hitachi aims to commercialize it within five years for use by paralyzed patients and those undergoing “cognitive rehabilitation.” – link