As the name suggests, brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) are devices that provide a direct line of communication between the brain and a computer.
Essentially, they pull off the seemingly sci-fi feat of reading minds, and research into them has made remarkable strides in recent years — we now have BCIs that can turn your thoughts into audible sentences or even let you play a game of telepathic Tetris.
Still, the tech has yet to reach anything close to mainstream adoption — but a newly unveiled Chinese computer chip might finally bring it to the masses, according to state-run press agency Xinhua.
A collaboration between Tianjin University and the state-owned China Electronics Corporation led to the recent unveiling of “Brain Talker,” a computer chip designed specifically for use in BCIs.
“The signals transmitted and processed by the brain are submerged in the background noise,” Tianjin University researcher Ming Dong said in a press release. “This BC3 [Brain-Computer Codec Chip] has the ability to discriminate minor neural electrical signals and decode their information efficiently, which can greatly enhance the speed and accuracy of brain-computer interfaces.”
Ming believes the chip could help bring BCIs out of labs and into the mainstream.
“Brain-Computer Interfaces hold a promising future,” he said in the release. “The Brain Talker chip advances BCI technology allowing it to become more portable, wearable, and accessible to the general public.”