Team at Westminster designs mind-controlled computer

Team at Westminster designs mind-controlled computer

(Courtesy of Chrono Nu)

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SALT LAKE CITY — A group of faculty and students at Westminster are hoping to build an interface that would allow a person’s mind to control a computer using a standard operating system.

Chrono Nu, neuroscience lab manager and a senior at Westminster — along with Dr. Richard Wellman, Dr. Russell Costa, and undergraduates Hailey Edwards, Katie Mullin and Ben Cohen — has created a theoretical brain-controlled interface that could control a computer running a common operating system like Windows or Mac.

The EggLink interface would be worn by the operator and use electric signals or brain waves to control the cursor and type.

Unlike other computer BCIs, EggLink would not require surgery or special operating systems. Most interfaces of this nature are targeted to people with paralysis and their communication needs, but these specialized operating systems, Nu said, can be awkward or slow to use.

The team has oriented the BCI around intuitive commands and common operating systems, hoping that it will eventually replace mice and keyboards for the tech-savvy community and medical community. Though they hope it will appeal to more than just people with special needs, they recognize the difference the interface could make for a disabled individual.

“If a person who is paralyzed, for example, was already familiar with computers, it would be a very smooth transition to using the EggLink,” Nu said. “I think it’s a very realistic project that would let us help a lot of people if we’re given the chance.”

The team came together organically, Nu said. When the idea to create a BCI came about in the Westminster neuroscience lab, people he had worked with in the past expressed their interest in becoming involved.

“I think this project really exemplifies how empowering the college is for student-driven projects like this,” Nu said.

The team is hoping to crowdsource the funding* to build a physical interface.

* has not verified the accuracy of the information provided with respect to the account nor does assure that the monies deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.


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