From Toys to Practicality: Brain Computer Interface Technology
The idea of Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) technology holds promise for a wide-range of medical and non-medical applications (Figure 1); from disabled individuals experiencing considerable physical impairments, developing gaming and virtual reality (VR) environments to impacting safety and security in the civilian and military sectors (L´ecuyer et al., 2008; Leeb, Friedman, & Pfurtsheller, G, 2007; Sanjay, 2013; Velloso, 2012). This emerging technology is known by various terminologies, such as BCI, Direct Brain Interface (DBI), Brain-Machine Interface (BMI), and neuro-brain transmission. Conventional computer input and assistive technology devices depend on the small though steadfast muscle movements, which patients lose during the progress of the disease. BCIs identify tiny changes in the brain signals to present a control path for devices which does not rely on the movement of muscles. BCIs do not interpret or communicate thoughts, although they do sense small changes in the brain signals to facilitate a path of control which does not rely on muscle movements (Nordqvist, 2013; Ourand & Moore, 2005). The basis of this paper is exploring just how video games and VR impact and benefit research & development (R&D), aviation and military applications, and the medical field for individuals with speech, vision, and mobility disabilities.
Figure 1. Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) applications. Retrieved from http://avaliacaotecnologia.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/ppt-gabriel-july-2012-final200712-final.pdf
VR developments were originally envisioned for assistive technology and of late for research fields like gaming, aviation and military activities, and robotics. Only in recent years, with the technological advancements in BCIs, VR environments continue to be explored as promising assistive technology answers for those individuals with substantial physical disabilities. These individuals have an undeniable need to communicate through speech and writing, in addition to handling their environment and partake in computer-based leisure activities. BCI systems typically comprises of a collection of hardware and software which interacts with the human body through internal or external techniques (L´ecuyer et al., 2008; Leeb et al., 2007; Nordqvist, 2013; Ourand & Moore, 2005). As stated earlier, there are several uses of such gaming and VR technology which are currently being accepted or proposed by R&D, as well as scientist alike. Many scientists envisage these emerging technologies as significant plans and interfaces to go along with other inputs—such as brain-switch and speech recognition (Leeb et al., 2007; Ourand & Moore, 2005). These remarkable solutions are especially appropriate as input options for individuals, who are relentlessly physically disabled (like locked-in) minor to diagnoses like traumatic brain injury, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), brainstem stroke, and various...