Re: [unrev-II] Fwd: Re: BBC program 'Future Fantastic' on brain-cyberspace interface

From: Henry van Eyken (
Date: Fri Jul 20 2001 - 20:51:47 PDT

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    I looked a bit at societal ramifications of this and related issues in "The
    connected brain (or Das Wohltemperierte Klavier)":
    My concern was and still is corporate power too highly concentrated.
    Notice also references to various BBC reports.

    And for some detail: "Through the eyes of a cat":


    Jack Park wrote:

    > >Date: Fri, 20 Jul 2001 17:05:59 -0700 (PDT)
    > >From: Gottfried Mayer <>
    > >Subject: Re: BBC program 'Future Fantastic' on brain-cyberspace interface
    > >To:
    > >Sender:
    > >Reply-To:
    > >
    > >Paul,
    > >thanks for the BBC news alert. I would like to provide some background since
    > >the BBC people apparently didn't do their journalistic homework about
    > >brainwaves and their control. (Thanks to the Internet it is easier to
    > >do a little fact-check yourself.)
    > >First of all the person they feature, Andrew Junker, doesn't really claim to
    > >use brainwaves to control gadgets (at least he didn't in the latest of his
    > >publications that showed up in a google search). He says:
    > >
    > >"The Cyberlink(tm) System is controlled by the voltages found on the
    > >surface of
    > >the forehead.
    > >When the muscles of the body contract a corresponding voltage can be detected
    > >on the surface of the skin. "
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >So maybe I am wrong and BBC talks about a brand new version but if you watch
    > >the show, check if they mention how he does it. The signal from the muscles in
    > >your forehead are much stronger than the EEG brainwaves, and real
    > >brain-researchers go through a lot of efforts to avoid those "muscle
    > >artifacts"
    > >because it messes up the brain wave signal. So what you really need to do with
    > >his device is to learn how to make funny faces and learn how your muscle
    > >activation controls the gadget. I mean that might be helpful for people who
    > >cannot use their arms but it might cheaper (and more honest to them) if you
    > >give them an interface where they can use, say, their lip or tongue muscles
    > >over which you have much more control than your frowning muscles in the
    > >forehead.
    > >
    > >If you want to play with a device that at least does a power-spectrum and has
    > >some nice display, you can buy a
    > >"brain wave controller" at IBVA TECHNOLOGIES,
    > >INC. (US$ 1400 for one channel).
    > >It does not correct for muscle artifact so you also end up making funny faces.
    > >(I had their two channel model and I tried
    > >it with students to control video games.)
    > >
    > >At the Gbrain-0 workshop I mentioned to Ben Houston that the only device that
    > >uses truly brainwaves and that has been shown to
    > >work with locked-in patients who no longer can make funny faces has been
    > >developed by Niels Birbaumer's group. See the ABCNews report and a scientific
    > >reference:
    > >
    > >Using Brain Waves to Talk, Paralyzed Patients Use Special Computers, 24 March
    > >1999
    > >
    > >
    > >The thought translation device: a neurophysiological approach to communication
    > >in total motor paralysis.
    > >Kubler A, Kotchoubey B, Hinterberger T et al
    > >Exp Brain Res 1999 Jan;124(2):223-32
    > >
    > >&Dopt=b
    > >
    > >
    > >Ben, maybe you can post a link to the sources that you had mentioned, I'd be
    > >curious to find out more how they do it.
    > >
    > >Anyway, enjoy the BBC show ... with a grain of salt.
    > >
    > >Gottfried
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