• Question: Hi Matthew, After reading your bio I was fascinated by your BCI (Brain-Computer Interface), and have some questions regarding it. 1. What does it look like? How big is the whole machine? 2. How long did it take to develop the current version? 3. In much of science-fiction, similar devices are commonly used and installed in people and consumer products. Do you think we could see such technology in the near future? Hope to hear from you, James.

    Asked by JL to Matt on 8 Nov 2017.
    • Photo: Matthew Flood

      Matthew Flood answered on 8 Nov 2017:

      Hi James, hopefully these responses will answer your questions.

      1. The BCI I built used electroencephalography (EEG) to record brain signals. The rest was run on a computer. EEG’s are very expensive and very sensitive pieces of kit with about 124 wires that you have to carefully attach to the head (This can take hours). See here – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electroencephalography and

      2. It took me about 9 months from start to finish.

      3. In short, no.
      There are 3 major challenges stopping these technologies from developing.
      (1) They are too expensive. An EEG machine costs >€100000.
      (2) They are too sensitive and can only be used in real quiet, still environments.
      (3) To decode brain signals is soooooo complex and difficult. And everyone’s brain behaves differently, so my signals will look completely different to yours. So, to have BCI technology in the future, we need to find ways of accurately finding specific brain signals that everyone shares and finding what those signals mean. It’s very tricky.