New MOANA headset to link thoughts to computers
MOANA, a four year project, has been led by a team at Rice University in Texas to design and develop a new headset to link human brains and our thoughts to machines and computers, non surgically. The overall need to design a link between machines and brains is to allow the transmission of visual images to blind patients.
The project has been funded by a programme known as DARPA, who are also developing more wearable interfaces which can communicate with the brain.
“In four years, we hope to demonstrate direct, brain-to-brain communication at the speed of thought and without brain surgery,” said Rice’s Jacob Robinson, the lead investigator on the $18m project, which was announced on May 20, 2019 as part of DARPA’s Next-Generation Nonsurgical Neurotechnology (N3) program.
“Speed is key,” Robinson said in a statement. “We have to decode neural activity in one person’s visual cortex and recreate it in another person’s mind in less than one-twentieth of a second. The technology to do that, without surgery, doesn’t yet exist. That’s what we’ll be creating.”
Standing for Magnetic, Optical and Acoustic Neural Access device, the next stage for MOANA is testing how the device will be able to employ light, ultrasound and/or electromagnetic energies to read and write brain activity.
“Most of this light scatters off the scalp and skull, but a small fraction can make it into the brain, and this tiny fraction of photons contain information that is critical to decoding a visual perception,” said Veeraraghavan. “Our aim is to capture and interpret the information contained in photons that pass through the skull twice, first on their way to the visual cortex and again after they are reflected back to the detector.”
May 24, 2019
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