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Introduction to Brain Computer Interface

The world of technology has been experiencing remarkable development in the history of user interface over the last decade. We have witnessed innovative UI such as Multi-touch interface ,Voice interface (eg:Siri) and even Gesture Interface (eg:Microsoft Kinect).

Likewise UI has stepped into next generation of interaction called Brain Computer Interface [BCI].Also known as Mind Machine Interface [MMI] or Brain Machine Interface [BMI].

brain-computer-interface1Brain Computer Interfaces have been widely used by medical and research communities only for decades. But in recent years the technology has reached the market place with a surprising speed. It works by recording the brainwaves and transmitting to the computer where it is interpreted as various inputs and commands.

The most common method used for BCI is Electroencephalography [EEG] for monitoring brain activity. In this case the EEG device used is Brain Headset which consists of a small number of electrodes placed on different parts of the skull the monitor brain activities with the help of the electrical signals generated by the brain.

However our mind cannot be read directly from our brain waves, but the attention level and the emotional state can be interpreted with the help of the brain waves.

The main types of EEG waves are Alpha,Beta,Theta and Delta waves

Alpha Waves

  • Frequency :8-12 Hz
  • Location: occipital and parietal
  • Represents the resting state of the body
  • Aid overall mental coordination, calmness, alertness, mind/body integration and learning.

Beta Waves

  • Frequency : 12-36 Hz
  • Location: parietal and frontal
  • Represents the fast activity of the brain
  • Increase amplitude during intense mental activity

Gamma Waves

  • Fastest of brain waves
  • Frequency : 30 – 100+
  • Location: Somatosensory cortex
  • A decrease in gamma-band activity may be associated with cognitive decline

Theta Waves

  • Frequency : 4-7 Hz
  • Location: temporal and parietal
  • correlated with emotional stress


Delta Waves

  • Frequency : <4 Hz
  • Location: everywhere
  • Occur during sleep, coma

BCI Devices:

There are various BCI based devices found in market. This technology has been built into toys and gaming devices; some of these toys have been extremely commercially successful like the NeuroSky and Mattel MindFlex.

To purchase Brain Computer Interface sensors for Educational Projects,Click Here

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The author jeevarajan