Interfaces between the human brain and computers have been in development for a while. Most, however, are designed to allow computers to assist humans, such as people living with a disability. But, what about the computers? Won't somebody please think about the computers?

Well, some stone-cold super freaks at Columbia University have. Got visions of a brain in a jar with some wires coming out? Yeah, you do. Paul Sajda, a disconcertingly agreeable-looking supervillain has created a device called the C3Vision (cortically coupled computer vision).

Sajda, a professor of Biomedical Engineering, Radiology and Evil, and Supreme Overlord of the Laboratory for Intelligent Imaging and Neural Computing, has rigged up his device to leverage the best part of both human and machine thinking into a single act. MIT's Technology Review describes the process.

"(The C3V) uses an electroencephalogram cap to monitor brain activity as the person wearing it is shown about 10 images per second. Machine-learning algorithms trained to detect the neurological signals that signify interest in an image are used to analyze this brain activity. By monitoring these signals, the system rapidly ranks the images in terms of how interesting they appear to the viewer. The search is then refined by retrieving other images that are similar to those with the highest rank."

What's the biggie? 10 images a second is way beyond the ol' bean, but recognizing alteration, or "oddness," is equally beyond the ol' bucket of bolts. Together a C3V user could use it to recognize incoming missiles (differentiated from, say, birdies and clouds) in time to trigger a defensive weapon to destroy it. (Can you say "DARPA funding?" I knew you could.)

In short, this device can help a person realize what's bugging them before they consciously know they've been bugged. Then kill it. Oh, it could also be used for gaming interface--cool!--and neuromarketing--coo . . . wait, what?

Sajda has created a league of supervillains called Neuromatters. I kid! I kid because I love. It's actually a company he's put together to develop the C3Vision commercially.

Well, it's a short walk to the nearest farcaster now. Thanks, Paul.

Beep boop boop.

Gamesters photo by Will Luo | arch photo by happysteve | other sources: Popular Science