The Big Hero 6, a film winning a 2015 Oscar for Best Animated Feature, shows a lot of prospective technology and creations. Apart from the adorable healthcare-providing robot Baymax, microbots, the creation from the main character, also makes audience thrilled. Such tiny robots can be controlled by brain signals and link together in any arrangement imaginable. They have invincible power in the film and become the villain’s secrete weapon.
Similar brain-controlled techniques also appear in many Hollywood films like Avatar and Pacific Rim.
Such system is called brain-computer interface, which is a direct communication pathway between human brain and external devices.
Brain Computer Interface (BCI) – also called mind-machine interface, direct neural interface, or brain–machine interface – seek to directly communicate with human nervous system to monitor and stimulate neural circuits as well as diagnose and treat intrinsic neurological dysfunction.
Research and development in BCI focuses primarily on neuroprosthetics applications that aim at restoring damaged hearing, sight and movement, ability to communicate, and even cognitive function.
Deep brain stimulation is a significant advance in this field that is especially effective in treating movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease with high frequency stimulation of neural tissue to suppress tremors.
Invasive BCI, implanted directly into the grey matter of the brain, research has targeted repairing damaged sight and providing new functionality for people with paralysis. BCIs focusing on motor neuroprosthetics aim to either restore movement in individuals with paralysis or provide devices to assist them, such as interfaces with computers or robot arms.
In 2015, NeuroTechX was created with the mission of building an international network for neurotechnology. They bring hackers, researchers and enthusiasts all together in many different cities around the world.