In the past years, tech geniuses have theorized that one day the human brain will function together with the Internet. The beginning of that era may have finally arrived in the form of this study from Wits University, they call, the Brainternet project.
Researchers from Wits University in Johannesburg, South Africa, took the first step towards the futuristic vision of a human brain. In their study published on Medical Express, the researchers were able to connect the human mind to the Internet in real time for the first time ever. The Brainternet project has enabled the integration between the internet and a person’s brain. According to researchers, the system has turned the brain “…into an Internet of Things (IoT) node on the World Wide Web.”
This staggering breakthrough could be the wick of future innovations that will expand the mind’s capabilities. The researchers made it happen by gathering the brainwave EEG signals using an Emotiv EEG device. The Emotiv EEG device was connected to the user’s head, which transmitted the brain signals to a low cost Raspberry Pi computer. Once the device has transmitted the signals to the computer, an application programming interface enables a live stream of data, which are displayed on an open website where anyone can view the activity.
In a statement on Futurism, Adam Pantanowitz, the supervisor of the project and a lecturer at the Wits School of Electrical and Information Engineerin said,
“Brainternet is a new frontier in brain-computer interface systems. There is a lack of easily understood data about how a human mind works and processes information. Brainternet seeks to simplify a person’s understanding of their own brain and the brains of others. It does this through continuous monitoring of brain activity as well as enabling some interactivity.”
The beginning of new possibilities
Pantanowitz believes that what they have achieved is only the beginning. The researchers are looking forward to finding more ways to expand the breakthrough. Pantanowitz added that for now their aim is to unfurl more technological possibilities, and improve the interactive experience between the user and their brain.
Though the team has already built remarkable functionalities of the device on the site, they believe that the project is still yet to grow. Currently, the cutting-edge project is limited to stimuli such as arm movement.
“Brainternet can be further improved to classify recordings through a smart phone app that will provide data for a machine-learning algorithm. In future, there could be information transferred in both directions – inputs and outputs to the brain,” Pantanowitz said.
Innovations involving the human’s brain and technology get different reactions from the people. Some people see it as world changing findings that could improve the lives of humanity; while others, find it daunting and frightening.
It’s not the first time when great modern innovators studied the integration of human mind and technology. Projects like Elon Musk’s Neural Lace and Bryan Johnson’s Kernel are also working on empowering the mind with machine learning and brain-computer interfaces. Now that one research had at last enabled the direct linking of mind and machine, the future is bright for similar breakthroughs.
Using the data gathered in the Brainternet project, we can now grasp a better understanding of how our minds work, and we can use it to optimize the brain’s learning abilities, and strengthen its power.