Human brains are “wired” up to the web in real time using a Raspberry Pi
A project that uploads people’s brain waves to the web in real time has been created using an electroencephalogram (EEG) connected to a Raspberry Pi.
Called ‘Brainternet’, the setup uses a commercially available Emotiv EEG device to place electrodes on the scalp of a volunteer to monitor the electrical activity of the brain. The signals are then live-streamed from the Raspberry Pi to an open source website.
Adam Pantanowitz, a lecturer at the Wits School of Electrical and Information Engineering, alongside students Jemma-Faye Chait and Danielle Winter
Adam Pantanowitz, a lecturer at the Wits School of Electrical and Information Engineering, alongside students Jemma-Faye Chait and Danielle Winterclaim their project is the first time anything like it has been created, even though the technology is not groundbreaking. They hope the project will one day be used to break down barriers in machine learning, help them learn more about how the brain works, and open doors for brain research by allowing collection of data on a large scale.
“Brainternet is a new frontier in brain-computer interface systems,” said Pantanowitz, who supervised the project. “There is a lack of easily understood data about how a human brain works and processes information. Brainternet seeks to simplify a person’s understanding of their own brain and the brains of others. It does this through continuous monitoring of brain activity as well as enabling some interactivity.”
The brain is still one of the least understood parts of the human body. “Ultimately, we’re aiming to enable interactivity between the user and their brain so that the user can provide a stimulus and see the response,” said Pantanowitz.
“Brainternet can be further improved to classify recordings through a smartphone app that will provide data for a machine-learning algorithm. In future, there could be information transferred in both directions – inputs and outputs to the brain.”
It is also hoped the project could lead to breakthroughs in machine learning and brain-computer interfaces, like Elon Musk’s Neural Lace, which wants to both stimulate and interpret electrical activity in the brain.