Tufts University scientists are working to develop a headband straight out of a science fiction movie. Computer scientist Robert Jacob and biomedical engineer Sergio Fantini are working on a state-of-the-art headband. The new technology will focus on facilitating communication between the human brain and computers. We reported prior, DARPA is working on backing up memories on a projected deemed “the black box for the brain“. Undoubtedly, a complementary project to work in conjunction with this new state-of-the-art- headband.
Jacob and Fantini are working on creating technology that will integrate the brain scanner with a wearable computer, such as Google Glass. The technology is a fragment of the complete technology which will allow humans to communicate with computers through thoughts instead using keyboards, joysticks and mouse clicks.
So how does the new head band work? The process dubbed functional near infrared spectroscopy, or fNIRS, uses red lights woven into the headband that beams light waves through the skull and dance on the prefrontal cortex of the brain.
The lights gauge the person’s level of mental exertion by measuring the amount of light absorbed by the brain. An overwhelmed taxed brain draws more blood than one working easily, and therefore absorbs more light.
Laura-Ann Petitto, a cognitive neuroscientist from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire is using fNIRS to research what she calls “baby babble” in hopes to one day be able to decipher and communicate effectively and better understand baby babble.