Can the iBrain Read Stephen Hawking’s Thoughts?By: Heather Campobello - April 10, 2012
As if out of a science fiction paperback, a team of California scientists have developed the world’s first portable brain scanner. Upon further development the innovative tool may be able to read a person’s mind.
NeuroVigil’s Chairman Philip Low, named the instrument the iBrain and it is the world’s first mobile brain scanner.
MIT’s Technical Review Board named Low as one of the most promising innovators in 2010.
Low met Stephen Hawking at a conference and believes he was able to read the physicists thoughts with the scanner by fitting the mechanism over his head and attaching three electrodes.
At its current capacity, the scanner is capable of measuring unique neurological patterns connected to specific thought processes. Low hopes to eventually have a “large enough database of these brainwaves that a computer could essentially read a person’s thoughts out loud.”
The iBrain could also help medical professionals to benchmark and personalize levels of medication more accurately by basing the dosage on a person’s brainwave responses. If this is true, then the iBrain could dramatically improve the lives of people afflicted with Schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, Depression, Autism, and sleep disorders.
Some doctors are referring patients with sleep disorders to wear the iBrain to bed so that their brain waves can be monitored. Wearing the iBrain is far more comfortable than the traditional method of hooking patients up to multiple electrodes because Low created an algorithm a half million lines long to reduce the amount of electrodes or EEGs down to just one. Because there are fewer EEGs, the device is far less bunchy and restrictive.
The iBrain transmits brain activity through a wireless cell phone to computers for analysis at NeuroVigil.
It will be interesting to see how this technology develops over the next decade.