Human Eye Camera

Chris Brooker
July 21, 2009

Another step towards our inevitable merging with machines, at least in my eyes :).

human_eye

George Milde has designed what he is calling the human eye camera. It’ been spcifecally build and tuned to show us exactly what the raw images captures by our eyes look like before our brain processes then into the view we are accustomed. It’s really amazing to see it like this.

Imagine if this camera could output a signal exactly the same as out current eyes which we could then connect to the optic nerve of someone who’s lost their eye (hardware) but not the wiring. To the brain it would be exactly the same as the original eye. I think we need to start looking at the signalling system used in the nervous system.

I have a few more ideas about this here.

Check it out: Four Fifths Design

Researchers Expand Clinical Study of Neural Interface Brain Implant: Scientific American

braingate-neural-interface_1This is actually some exciting news!

The researchers over at Brown University has been given the go-ahead from the FDA to run a pilot clinical trail to expand it’s work on Neural Interfaces. In 2000, Brown University began a program named BrainGate which includes a baby aspirin–size brain sensor containing 100 electrodes, each thinner than a human hair, that connects to the surface of the motor cortex (the part of the brain that enables voluntary movement), registers electrical signals from nearby neurons, and transmits them through gold wires to a set of computers, processors and monitors. The purpose of this trial was give direct control from the brain to artificial limbs.

BrainGate2 hopes improve on the original BrainGate by tapping both motor cortex’s as appose to one in the previous study, and better understand brain signals and improve our methods to decode them.

Let me know when I can expand to mental resources through a direct connection to the internet. 🙂

Full Story via Scientific American
Plug and Play: Researchers Expand Clinical Study of Neural Interface Brain Implant: Scientific American.

pins and tumblers still?? Part 1 – Biometrics

Chris Brooker
May 28, 2009

Keys
If there is one thing that bothers me it’s keys. Everyday, everywhere I have to carry around this ring with hunks of metal attached just so I can lock my condo door, start my car, check my mail, etc. Why are metal keys and pin and tumbler locks still the standard?

Here are Pros for our traditional keys

  • relatively easy to use
  • durable
  • adds a level of security higher than no lock
  • cheap
  • ubituitous
  • longevity, seldom need servicing
  • anonymous (also a con)

Here are the Cons for keys

  • must carry at all times (losing then is a hassle and costly)
  • easily duplicated
  • can’t control access (if you have a key, you get in)
  • to change the key you have to change the lock internals
  • if a key breaks in the lock it’s rendered inoperable
  • anonymous (also a pro)

Don’t you think it’s time for a change? I certainly do, but the problem is not as cut and dry as that. There currently isn’t really a better solution yet, which is totally frustrating.

Let’s take a look at the alternatives:

Biometric Access Control Systems

1) Finger Print

 

la9-3-fingerprint-lock-by-adel-1

  • requires physical contact
  • often requires 10secs to authenticate
  • often fails to read
  • not difficult to defeat
  • requires power to opperate
  • requires that a sample pattern be taken and stored on the device or location
  • expensive ($500)

2) Vein Pattern Recognition (reads the unique patterns of veins in you hand)

  • requires physical contact (back of hand in most cases)
  • authentication takes time
  • device is large and not suitable for all entry types
  • requires power to opperate
  • requires that a sample pattern be taken and stored on the device or location
  • expensive ($2000 – $4000)

3) Retinal Scanning

  • perceived as invasive
  • requires power to opperate
  • requires that a sample pattern be taken and stored on the device or location
  • expensive

4) Other types of biometrics

  • other types of biometrics all have similar drawbacks.

These are the reasons that you don’t see a lot of biometric locks out there. They are simply not better then metal keys for most purposes.

In my next post I will talk about RF, RFID, keypads and IR electronic locks.

Human Auditory Frequency Range Limitations (Hardware or Software)

Chris Brooker
April 27, 2009

It’s known that the human ear can generally hear sounds with frequencies between 20 Hz and 20 kHz and that the range only decrease with age and with hearing damage. Yet, I wonder where in the human machine does this limitation lie?

Is this a limitation of our auditory detecting hardware (cochlea)? or is this a limitation with our processing bandwidth (brain, temporal lobe)?

If this is simply a limitation of our auditory hardware than improving on this functionality would be trivial. Provided we can create sufficient interfaces to the nervous system. There is an article detailing our progress as of 2007 in this article Auditory Nerve Implant Next Big Hearing Loss Breakthrough?. However, I still have not been able to determine if our frequency range limitation is hardware or software.

Optic nerve signal interception, interpretation, manipulation and reintroduction for human/computer interface for use in augmented reality

Chris Brooker
April 26, 2009

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about human/computer interfaces in respect to augmented reality. There seem to be, at least to me, a lack of serious research in the field of true human/computer interfaces.

Sure, we’ve been able to control simple systems by training ourselves to modify our brainwaves or flexing muscles to control an artificial limb. But this is more us adapting to the interface than us truly being one with the machine.

I think the main problem has been the lack of very detailed research on how our nervous system actually works. More specifically for this post the optic nerve. There is book after book that describes the anatomy of the retina, optic nerve, optic chiasm, optic tracts, etc. But no where have I been able to find a book or paper on how precisely the optic nerve transfers the signal from the retina to the visual cortex.

It’s estimated that there are 1.2 million nerve fibers that make up the optic nerve.

  • What are these fibers?
  • Does each fiber behave like a wire transferring electrical impulses?
  • Do they work together as one large wire?
  • Do they work in groups of wires transmitting different information?
  • Are the fibers redundant groups transfering the same data in case one is damaged?
  • Do we have to tap each fiber?
  • Is the data transmission bidirectional?
  • Does the eye receive any information from the optic nerve?
  • What is the nature of the signal?
  • Is it straight bit data?
  • Is it a complex modulated signal? Etc.

I can’t seem to find answers to any of these questions. Perhaps I’m not looking hard enough or perhaps there has really been any research into it.If I had the resources required to answer these questions I would very much like to work towards the follow goals or thesis.

Thesis:

Is it possible to splice into the optic nerve (intercept) and feed the signal (for lack of a better term) into a computer, interpret those impulses into raw retinal image data that can be displayed on a computer screen (interpretation), manipulate the raw retinal image data (ie superimpose text) (manipulation) and injecting that altered signal back into the optic nerve for traditional processing by the visual cortex (reintroduction).

If anyone would like to discuss this stuff further drop me a line.

 

UPDATE

Here is a project that is on the leading edge of this type of research. However, they are interfacing with receptor cells in the retina with a prosthesis and not going straight to the signal. You will still require a functioning or partially functioning eye. Still great science!

http://www.bostonretinalimplant.org

Random Additions brought about through discussing this subject

“As to the actual task of intercepting the optic nerve signal, it seems to my blissful ignorance to be a rather straighforward thing. I’m not sure if anyone has actually been able to accomplish it. If you had to tap all 1.2 million optical nerve fibers I could see it being difficult ;).”

“I have a feeling that many of those nerve fibers are redundant, much like the rest of the brain, and we may only need to intercept a relatively small percentage of them to get the desired result, or at least a close approximation of it.

The technology that I think we should really watch out for it nanotechnology.  In theory the tiny things could independently search out the nerves and attach themselves to it, requiring simply an injection and not risky surgery.  Some form of radio wave or  microwave could then be used to communicate with them, ie. receiving and sending video feed.  Frankly this kind of thing could be extrapolated to any part of the brain.  For example you could create a “movie” where the viewer feels everything the character feels, including all the senses, emotion,  even thoughts.”

 

There is also the great work that is being done at the Human Connectome Project

http://www.humanconnectomeproject.org/

More specific to this post, here is a dataset from the University of Utah. The Retinal Connectome Mosaics.

 

Here is another advancement (April 5, 2010);

http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/04/australian-bionic-eye/

Researchers in Australia have developed a “wide-view neurosimulator,” to help give sight back to the blind. By implanting electrodes in the eye, they’ll allow those with degenerative vision loss to see a pixelated version of the world around us.

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