The brain-computer interface is a communication pathway between the human brain and an external device, usually a computer. It enables people to control mechanical devices from their thoughts. The first BCI was developed in 1970 by Dr. Jose Delgado, a Spanish neuroscientist who was able to command the movements of an avatar by projecting electrical pulses onto his subject’s motor cortex, causing his muscles to contract and resist movement – this would have been considered impossible without the BCI technology. In the last decade, research has been focused on communication through these interfaces, allowing paralyzed people to control their environment, from wheelchairs to music players.

Currently there are four types of brain-computer interfaces:
a) electroencephalography (EEG),
b) electrocorticography (ECoG),
c) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI),and
d) magnetoencephalography (MEG). The majority of BCI users today use EEG interfaces.

What is a BCI? What does a BCI Have To Do With Gaming?

BCI technology has been used in a number of applications, such as wheelchair control and prostheses for the paralyzed. However, there has also been research into gaming applications of this technology. Gattis et al (2013) found that BCI users were able to use their BCI to control the mouse cursor. This research was conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and focused on epilepsy patients who had lost their ability to move muscles required for arm movements. The researchers concluded that playing action game with an open hand led to an increased chance of muscle activation.
Brain computer interface (BCI) is a non-invasive system that allows direct communication between the brain and external devices such as computers, robots, or prosthetics. You can think of it like an electronic extension of your thoughts; for example, you might want to play a piano with your mind in the future.
Because BCI is so new and so far-reaching in what it can do, there are still many unanswered questions. If a neural signal turns into a computer command, this is called decoding. Decoding algorithms are very important in BCI. Some algorithms, for example, analyze the frequency of the signals from the cerebral cortex and can determine whether a signal represents “left” or “right.” Others decode images from brain signals. If BCI recognizes the word “apple,” it might flash it onto a screen.

The following techniques are used in BCI:

Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) uses light from a near-infrared source to measure blood flow in the brain. This is a non-invasive technique that can be used to study brain processing of language, vision, and motor function. In this technique, light waves from a near-infrared source penetrate the skull and brain tissue. Light waves reflect off of various areas of the brain and interfere with each other based on their concentration of haemoglobin molecules. By measuring the amount by which light waves are scattered, NIRS can detect changes in how much blood is flowing through the brain.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a method of using magnetic fields to visualize specific areas of tissues. The application for this technique with BCI is to measure the activity of both hemispheres by taking advantage of two magnets that can be placed on either side of the head. By measuring brain activity, MRI can give us information about the neural circuits that are being used.