Last Updated on Saturday, 31 December 2011 15:25 Written by Brendan Allison Wednesday, 28 April 2010 08:53
How can you learn more about BCI systems? The answer depends heavily on your interest.
The "BCI Basics" section under "About BCI" has all the information you need. The text provides an introduction to BCIs that is supported by the .pdf and link to a presentation. Check out the link to a one hour talk that was presented at Microsoft with a similar .pdf file. There are also many videos in that section, and under the "Videos" section, that help to illustrate what real BCIs are like. This section also has a *free* article with an introduction to BCIs that was specifically written for non-expert readers with no prior knowledge of BCIs. Our roadmap, under the "Roadmap" tab, has more information too.
Writing a short school report or longer academic paper
In addition to the above material, you might want to look at some of the material in the "BCI Class" section. The glossary and references can help supplement your report. That should be plenty for a straightforward overview of BCIs. If you want to focus on specific topics, like certain types of BCIs, you should look for relevant lectures under "BCI Class" and relevant references, such as by searching for that keyword. You should also visit websites of projects or labs working on that specific topic. If you want to instead report on who is doing BCI research, check out "People and Labs," "Links," and "Research Projects" under the "Community" tab.
A more advanced paper will probably require references. You should find the reference database handy. You should also read a few articles that provide a general review of BCIs, such as Wolpaw et al. (2002) or Allison et al. (2007). We cannot provide copies of most articles for copyright reasons, but you can buy them from the publisher or get them for free through a library (ideally, a university library). You can also find references through online search engines. The "Links" section has some examples.
Writing an article for the popular media
You are probably more interested in the people and groups doing BCI research, which you can learn about through "People and Labs," "Links," and "Research Projects" under the "Community" tab. You should examine the news and events on the right side of the page. To get a better idea what it is like to do BCI research, see "Success Stories" or the discussion forum and blog. These sections could also be good sources of helpful contacts or potential stories. The discussion forum contains examples of other articles in the popular media with comments. Finally, please feel free to contact the Future BNCI coordinator if you want to check some facts or get leads for a story in the popular media about BCIs. Part of our job is encouraging accurate media representation, so we're happy to help.
Considering a career in BCI research
There are no formal academic degrees available in BCIs (yet): If you are not yet in college, you should talk to a parent, teacher, or other potentially helpful person. Maybe you could write a school report or science project involving BCIs. After that, you will need to specialize in something related to BCI research, such as Psychology, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Neuroscience, or HCI. The "BCI class" section has coursework in BCIs and some related material that should give you some idea what to expect. At the graduate level, you should identify a lab and person to contact. To get a better idea what it is like to do BCI research, see "Success Stories" or the discussion forum and blog. If you're thinking of working for a company that does BCI research, see some of the companies under "Links," or just search for them via Google.
I want to get a working BCI or BNCI
Very recently, a few companies have been selling such systems. Starlab, g.tec, Emotiv, OCZ, NeuroSky, Smart Brain Games, Advanced Brain Monitoring, Motorika, and probably other companies advertise them. However, attaining the level of control seen in some videos on the website, or many news clips about BCIs, probably requires an expert to help set up and configure the system. Unfortunately, if your goal is to get a working BCI to help a loved one communicate, this is quite difficult. A major goal of many research projects (including this one) is to make BCIs more practical and accessible for end users.