The next (virtual reality )VR headset may be able to communicate with your brain.
- A brain interface and a virtual reality headset are combined in a new beta experiment.
- The neural interface may make it easier for patients with brain injuries to go about their regular lives.
- A brain interface could one day allow you to control a headset without the need for clumsy hand controllers.
Varjo’s next VR headset will feature a neural interface. The device has a number of sensors that measure data from the user’s brain, eyes, heart, skin, and muscles, and it’s designed to see how virtual reality can help people think more clearly.
In an email interview with Lifewire, Tristan Cotter, GM, Americas of Varjo, said, “Researchers and enterprise companies leveraging the combination of neurotechnology and VR headset opens up a host of new and rich data that will allow developers to have a greater understanding of how an individual reacts to virtual worlds and experiences in real-time.” “The idea here is that virtual reality allows you to immerse consumers in any virtual setting or scenario.”
Reading Your Mind
The Galea, a hardware and software platform that merges brain-computer interface (BCI) technology with extended reality (XR) headsets, is being developed by Varjo in collaboration with OpenBCI. The public will be able to purchase the item in July, although the price has yet to be determined.
Virtual reality and augmented reality, according to Conor Russomanno, CEO of OpenBCI, have attracted the attention of scientific researchers from a variety of sectors. The headsets allow scientists to collect data and conduct experiments in more realistic scenarios while maintaining tight control over stimuli and environments.
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“For neuroscience especially, the notion of a “closed-loop” system, where the stimuli being delivered can be modified in real-time based on the physiological reactions of the subject, represents a dramatic departure from the traditional one-way, “stimulate and record” methods traditionally employed,” he added.
The brain interface may also make it easier for patients to go around on a regular basis. In an email interview with Lifewire, James Giordano, a professor of neurology, neurotechnology, and neuroethics at Georgetown University Medical Center, said that adding VR headset to brain-computer interfaces could allow users to experience a broader range of sensory input, which could be useful for rehabilitation following neurological injury or disease.
“VR—BCI systems might be used to provide a real-time inter-individual interchange of multisensory information, allowing individuals to have “quasi-shared” experiences,” Giordano added. “This could lead to “remote simulated worlds,” in which people can see the impacts of VR-BCI activated neural networks over vast distances.
Better Computing Through Your Brain
According to Chris Harrison, a professor of human-computer interaction at Carnegie Mellon University, brain interfaces for computers are still in the research phase, and VR could assist progress in the area. VR is much more immersive and could lead to richer and more realistic BCI signals. Neural research frequently involves giving individuals visuals on computer displays and measuring their response, but VR headset is much more immersive and could lead to richer and more realistic BCI signals.
“Encounters like games might dynamically modify experiences if they knew your mental state (emotion, boredom, excitement, focus),” Harrison continued. “For example, [they] could exactly time that jumps fright for maximum effect. Instead of having to place other sensors in the headgear, social VR experiences with an avatar might contain things like smiling, blinking, and eyebrow rises by perceiving effect via BCI.”
Harrison believes that in the future, a brain interface might make VR headset much less awkward, or possibly eliminate the need for traditional hand controllers.
He went on to say, “BCI can be far more intimate—know your state of mind, know what you’re thinking.” “It’s the most immersive form of sense if you will. The metaverse will emerge as a result of both sides of the coin—immersive output and immersive input.”
Virtual reality still has a long way to go before it will completely replaces desktops and laptops, according to Harrison “However, I believe that allowing computers access to your soul (through BCI) would enhance the human-computer bandwidth, which is currently quite limited. Today’s keyboards, hand gestures, voice input, and other ways are significantly slower than we imagine. BCI has the potential to change that.”
However, don’t expect to be able to operate your computer with your thoughts right away. Galea’s current generation is aimed at businesses, developers, researchers, and laboratories. The company intends to use the initiative to gain a better understanding of where consumer apps are so that it can release simplified, lower-cost versions in a few years.
“This technology has the ability to reveal fresh insights into the mind’s workings and to introduce entirely new methods of interacting with technology. As a result, it has the potential to have a wide range of favorable effects in a variety of situations “Cotter explained.