The Brain Computer Interface (BCI) allows users to control computers and other devices, using their thoughts. BCIs monitor the user's brain activity and translate it into commands that can be used to operate the device, and give feedback to the user in order to allow them to correct the inputs that resulted in errors.
Presently, the most popular methods for creating BCIs are the use of electrodes that are attached to the head or body to record signals that originate from the brain. The digital signals are then analyzed to extract the relevant signal features that match the user's intention. These can include EEG and ECoG response intensities, latencies and power in specific EEG and ECoG frequency bands, as well as firing rate of each individual cortical nerve.
Based on our survey, the public is enthusiastic about the prospect of applying BCI technology for various purposes. It is evident that BCI researchers must respond to the concerns of the general public as well as their own experts, to ensure a responsible growth of this emerging technology.
Among the major challenges to be overcome, the most important is the improvement of BCI reliability. A BCI must be as reliable as muscle-based actions. This requires considerable CNS plasticity which allows the BCI to learn to reliably identify and generate the intended commands. The cost of invasive BCIs is another important issue. This includes the initial and ongoing implantation, as well being the cost of technical support. If these costs can't be significantly reduced the commercial viability of a BCI will be limited to those who have severe disabilities.