Researchers are developing technology that would enable people to control electronic devices using only their thoughts. The technology uses software that can analyze and interpret patterns in the brain’s electrical activity when people think about specific words or actions. “If we could access the global information network simply by using the power of our thoughts, it would open up incredible new opportunities for computing technology,” says Intel’s Dean Pomerleau, who has been working with Carnegie Mellon University researchers to study brain patterns. The U.S. Army is working with University of California, Irvine researchers to study how to harness brain waves to send nonverbal messages in battle. Meanwhile, Mayo Clinic researchers think thoughts can be read faster by placing sensors inside the skull. The Mayo Clinic’s Jerry Shih says that one day people’s brains could be implanted with microchips similar to those used for personal computers. Already, University of Southern California researchers have implanted chips into the brains of rats to try to study ways to boost memory, with applications for Alzheimer’s patients in mind.
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