How many neurons does a human brain have? Are larger brains smarter brains? Do larger brains have more neurons in them? Does the size of a brain increase with the size of the animal? How much energy does a brain consume, and why is this important? Are there limits to how many neurons a brain can contain?
These and many other questions are tackled in this particularly informative TED talk. Take a look:
What do you do when you have an idea? How do you think about it? If you’re like me or like most people, you probably imagine this idea in terms of visual images. Irrespective of what the idea is, be it an object, a plan for doing something, or an abstract concept, the first tendency is to try and view it in some way. You are basically doing a “rapid mental prototype” of your idea or concept.
Now imagine how could it would be if you wouldn’t need to learn to draw in order to get these images out of your head in an almost 1-to-1 mapping. Yes, these days are not far away and brain scanning makes it all possible. Just take a look:
If we will be able to extract the images and the sketches from our heads, simply by imagining them, what would this mean? The potential implications are endless: drawing by thought, getting ideas quickly to paper, recording dreams, and many more.
So what would you do if you could get your mental images on paper?
It seems like the Emotiv company is preparing to develop and release a new EEG neuroheadset called the Emotiv Insight. While it will have fewer sensors than the Emotiv EPOC or Emotiv EEG, it will be easier to deploy and more user friendly, with what seems to be a powerful framework. Can’t wait to get my hands on one! 🙂
Oh, and before I forget, Emotiv also requires your support to develop this new product. For this purpose, they opened a Kickstarter project. As the Kickstarter is still running for a couple of days, you might want to consider chipping in so that this new EEG headset has a better chance to see the light of day.
Have you heard of the Emotiv company? Well, they are one of the players that are developing portable wireless EEG solutions. And while their initial products—the Emotiv EPOC and Emotiv EEG—have been used with success in various research projects, gaming solutions and user evaluations, they are now focusing on a new device: the Emotiv Insight.
The Insight is planned to be a more user-friendly device that will require less effort for setting up and—based on my experience with the EPOC—will probably be more comfortable to wear. On the other hand, Emotiv Insight will have only 5 sensors that will reduce the resolution of the device when compared to the 14 channels available on the EPOC and EEG models.
However, the Insight will clearly have some advantages compared to the previous Emotiv neuroheadsets. You can currently read more about the Emotiv Insight on this Kickstarter page, where the company is trying to raise some money to start initial production (the goal of $100k has already been surpassed). And more importantly, if you also believe that this is a project that you believe could change the face of computing, evaluation or human-computer interaction, do participate on Kickstarter and help this project get funded. I’m convinced that brain-computer interfaces are one of the major ways to change the face of human-machine interaction in the following decades, and that projects like this one are simply stepping stones in that direction.
You can find some more information about the Emotiv Insight on Visual.ly.
A new trend is swooping over from Asia and its known as neurowear. The idea is that humans could be augmented with various robotic wearable devices that allow users to communicate emotions, preferences, states of mind, etc. Most of these devices rely on BCI headsets in order to read the brain activity of the person wearing it and interpreting these signals in order to allow the wearable devices to react. And here are a couple of examples for this: wearable cat ears (necomimi) and [dog?] tails (shippo), that move based on the emotional and arousal level of the user.
It seems a new headset is coming out this summer. But contrary to other lightweight wireless headsets, this one—called Foc.us—is not aimed at reading any brain activity. It is actually rather the opposite: it tries to stimulate various regions of the human brain through a low electrical current in order to improve concentration and memory. You can read more about it here.
Found this article recently about folk neuroscience, defined as the most common, and sometimes incorrect, knowledge about how the brain works. Seems interesting how people like to categorize everything, and in this case the functionality of the mind. As one can notice in the article, the most common misconceptions seem to be related to black and white categorization of brain functions and brain areas.
Hmm… this brings me to a next topic: it would be great to see some studies on the dimensions of flexibility and rigidity of the human mind, what can easily change and what is more permanent and untrainable. However, I’m sure this will still require a lot of time and effort, as these questions are at the core of neuroscience.