Researchers at the University of Maryland (UMD) have just released their latest study results on a “brain cap” they’ve been developing. The device, a sensor-lined cap with neural interface software, monitors the brain’s EEG signals and translates them into an action. Previous studies of the UMD brain cap have shown that a user using thought alone can control a computer cursor and perform complex movements with a 3-D hand model. This new study shows that such complex movements can be performed on the ankle, knee, and hip joints.
The UMD device isn’t the first brain-computer interface, however, according to José ‘Pepe’ L. Contreras-Vidal, UMD Associate Professor of Kinesiology. Other competing technologies are either very invasive, requiring electrodes to be implanted directly in the brain, or, if noninvasive, require much more training to use.
The UMD brain cap has come a long way since its feasibility was demonstrated in a paper only 18 months ago.
According to Contreras-Vidal:
“We are on track to develop, test and make available to the public- within the next few years – a safe, reliable, noninvasive brain computer interface that can bring life-changing technology to millions of people whose ability to move has been diminished due to paralysis, stroke or other injury or illness,”
Here’s a video of Contreas-Vidal and his colleagues explaining the brain cap technology:
Article from the University of Maryland: UMD Brain Cap Technology Turns Thought Into Motion
Journal abstract from Journal of Neurophysiology: Neural decoding of treadmill walking from non-invasive, electroencephalographic (EEG) signals