Robohub.org
 

Open Brain-Computer Interface: An Interview with Conor Russomanno

by and
08 September 2014



share this:

Open_BCI

Brain-computer interfacing (BCI) is a rapidly growing field that offers huge potential for many applications, such as medical grade BCIs to help people with sensory-motor disabilities. Currently, a number of researchers are developing more affordable BCI systems designed to address a wider range of neurotherapeutic applications.

Conor Russomanno is the founder and research developer of OpenBCI, a low-cost open-source hardware platform that records the brain’s electrical signals and uses devices and software languages to make the data easily accessible. Russomanno and co-founder Joel Murphy aim to accelerate the advancement of BCI through collaborative hardware and software development.

The OpenBCI project began earlier this year after raising over $200K through a Kickstarter campaign (more than doubling their initial goal). Even in the early stages, OpenBCI is already drawing a lot of attention and is having interesting repercussions in the BCI world.

“There’s a lot of really exciting stuff that’s going to happen in the near future and in the not so distant future, but I think the one thing that we’re hoping to achieve with open BCI is to really lower the barrier of entry both in terms of educational materials and also cost,” says Russomanno.

A number of consumer-grade EEG devices that have a relatively low channel capacity are available, but higher quality, medical and research grade EEG systems are much more expensive than a standard OpenBCI kit, which makes them less accessible. One of the advantages of Russomanno’s and Murphy’s development is that whereas previously, one medical grade system was used in a classroom or research laboratory, now, the same amount of money can be used to acquire  enough OpenBCI systems to provide every student with their own device.

“This is reflected in our consumer base. A huge proportion of our customers are students, graduate-level researchers and professors who want to use OpenBCI as a learning tool, explains Russomanno.

Another of OpenBCI’s exciting potentials is the fact that it is fully open source. Russomanno and Murphy are using a lot of their resources to create an infrastructure in which people are not just able to use the technology but can also share their experiences and connect with other people using the technology. This enables users to share tutorials, getting started guides and also their own individual projects. In this sense, the creators have not only provided a tool, they are also establishing a level of enthusiasm for an unprecedented unicentric development.

The fact that such enthusiasm is being drummed up in many sectors from academia to the business world, marks a big step for BCI. How far into the mainstream does OpenBCI have the potential to go?

“I think that to be realistic about the technology it’s important to realize that, especially in the commercial space, technology like this has a tendency to get mislabelled and misrepresented by media sources. When you see the catchphrase ‘mind controlled robot’ you think of someone sitting in a chair with electrodes plugged into their head having ultimate control over many, many dimensions of a robot’s functionality.” Says Russomanno.

In reality, however, in the current state, mind controlled robots, at least using OpenBCI, translates to looking at a flashing screen and having the frequency of the flashing induce a similar frequency in the brain, and then telling the robot to turn left.

“We’re are many steps away from wearing a device that knows what turning your car on, versus opening your door look like. So it’s important to be realistic about what the technology is capable of,” Russomanno explains.

Russomanno points out that for BCI to advance, it’s essential for people to work together. Although there is some competition within this space, he emphasizes the importance of cooperation. Progress from any one company is going to help the industry as a whole. People in tested in joining the OpenBCI community can buy the technology, make use of the many available resources and share their experiences and this will work toward pushing BCI forward into the future.

Image credit: 4bpblogspot.com



tags: , , , , ,


Corrina Underwood Corinna Underwood is a writer for TechEmergence.
Corrina Underwood Corinna Underwood is a writer for TechEmergence.

TechEmergence is the only news and media site exclusively about innovation at the crossroads of technology and psychology.
TechEmergence is the only news and media site exclusively about innovation at the crossroads of technology and psychology.





Related posts :



Designing societally beneficial Reinforcement Learning (RL) systems

In this post, we aim to illustrate the different modalities harms can take when augmented with the temporal axis of RL. To combat these novel societal risks, we also propose a new kind of documentation for dynamic Machine Learning systems which aims to assess and monitor these risks both before and after deployment.
15 May 2022, by

Innovative ‘smart socks’ could help millions living with dementia

‘Smart socks’ that track rising distress in the wearer could improve the wellbeing of millions of people with dementia, non-verbal autism and other conditions that affect communication.
13 May 2022, by

Swiss Robotics Day showcases innovations and collaborations between academia and industry

The 2021 Swiss Robotics Day marked the beginning of NCCR Robotics’s final year. The project, launched in 2010, is on track to meet all its scientific goals in the three areas of wearable, rescue and educational robotics, while continuing to focus on supporting spin-offs, advancing robotics education and improving equality of opportunities for all robotics researchers.
10 May 2022, by

Afreez Gan: Open Source Robot Dog, Kickstarter, and Home Robots | Sense Think Act Podcast #18

In this episode, Audrow Nash speaks to Afreez Gan, who is the founder and CEO of MangDang; MangDang is a Chinese startup that makes Minipupper, an open source robot dog that uses the Robot Operating S...

GelBot – A new 3D printing method to tackle sustainability in soft robots

Doctoral students have built a system to 3D print a biodegradable gel into complex shapes. They have printed finger-like robots that use intricate sensor networks to sense their own deformation and also objects in their surroundings.

RIMA, the European robotics network for Inspection and Maintenance

RIMA project aims at bringing together Digital Innovation Hubs and Facilitators operating under a common network that allow them to join forces and competences in promoting Inspection and Maintenance (I&M) robotics in Europe.
04 May 2022, by





©2021 - ROBOTS Association


 












©2021 - ROBOTS Association