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S’African researchers connect human brain to the Internet

A continental breakthrough in technology has been achieved by a team of researchers at Wits University in Johannesburg, South Africa in the field of biomedical engineering by linking a brain directly to the Internet, saying “This project could help fuel the next steps in machine learning and brain-computer interfaces”.

In a statement made available to Business Hilights, and also published on Medical Express, for the first time ever, “researchers have devised a way of connecting the human brain to the Internet in real time. It’s been dubbed the “Brainternet” project, and it essentially turns the brain “…into an Internet of Things (IoT) node on the World Wide Web.”

The experts said the project works by taking brainwave EEG signals gathered by an Emotiv EEG device connected to the user’s head. The signals are then transmitted to a low cost Raspberry Pi computer, which live streams the data to an application programming interface and displays the data on an open website where anyone can view the activity.

According to Adam Pantanowitz, a lecturer in the Wits School of Electrical and Information Engineering and the project’s supervisor, “Brainternet is a new frontier in brain-computer interface systems. There is a lack of easily understood data about how a human brain works and process information”.

“Brainternet seeks to simplify a person’s understanding of their own brain and the brains of others. It does this through continuous monitoring of brain activity as well as enabling some interactivity.”

While stressing that this is just the beginning of the possibilities of the project, he vowed that his team is now aiming to allow for a more interactive experience between the user and their brain. Some of this functionality has already been built into the site, but it is very narrow — limited to stimulus such as arm movement.