Biomedical engineers connecting a human brain to the internet in real time

September 14, 2017, Wits University
Biomedical engineers connecting a human brain to the internet in real time

In research thought to be a world first, biomedical engineers at Wits are connecting a human brain to the internet in real time.

The 'Brainternet' project streams brainwaves onto the internet. Essentially, it turns the brain into an Internet of Things (IoT) node on the World Wide Web. IoT refers to connecting any device with an on and off switch to the internet.

Brainternet is the brainchild of Adam Pantanowitz, a lecturer in the Wits School of Electrical and Information Engineering, who supervised fourth-years Jemma-Faye Chait and Danielle Winter in its development.

"Brainternet is a new frontier in brain-computer interface systems. There is a lack of easily understood data about how a works and processes 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," explains Pantanowitz.

Brainternet works by converting electroencephalogram (EEG) signals () in an open source brain live stream. A person wears a powered, mobile, internet accessible Emotiv EEG device for an extended period. During this time, the Emotiv transmits the EEG signals to a Raspberry Pi – a credit card sized little computer - live streams the signals to an (code that allows software programmes to communicate), and displays data on a website that acts as a portal. This is currently an open website where the public can observe the individual's .

"Ultimately, we're aiming to enable interactivity between the user and their brain so that the user can provide a stimulus and see the response. Brainternet can be further improved to classify recordings through a smart phone app that will provide data for a machine-learning algorithm. In future, there could be information transferred in both directions – inputs and outputs to the brain," says Pantanowitz.

Explore further: Interpreting brainwaves to give amputees a hand

Related Stories

Interpreting brainwaves to give amputees a hand

September 13, 2017
Biomedical engineers at Wits are researching how brainwaves can be used to control a robotic prosthetic hand.

Stroke patient improvement with a brain-computer interface

August 30, 2017
University of Adelaide researchers have shown that it is possible for stroke patients to improve motor function using special training involving connecting brain signals with a computer.

Use of brain-computer interface, virtual avatar could help people with gait disabilities

August 23, 2017
Researchers from the University of Houston have shown for the first time that the use of a brain-computer interface augmented with a virtual walking avatar can control gait, suggesting the protocol may help patients recover ...

Cognitive-related neural pattern to activate machines

June 14, 2017
Brain-machine interfaces represent a solution for people with physical difficulties to communicate with their physical and social environment. In this work, researchers have identified a functional brain pattern in the prefrontal ...

Recommended for you

Study points to possible new therapy for hearing loss

October 15, 2018
Researchers have taken an important step toward what may become a new approach to restore hearing loss. In a new study, out today in the European Journal of Neuroscience, scientists have been able to regrow the sensory hair ...

Sugar, a 'sweet' tool to understand brain injuries

October 15, 2018
Australian researchers have developed ground-breaking new technology which could prove crucial in treating brain injuries and have multiple other applications, including testing the success of cancer therapies.

Scientists examine how neuropathic pain responds to Metformin

October 15, 2018
Scientists seeking an effective treatment for one type of chronic pain believe a ubiquitous, generic diabetes medication might solve both the discomfort and the mental deficits that go with the pain.

Abnormal vision in childhood can affect brain functions

October 13, 2018
A research team has discovered that abnormal vision in childhood can affect the development of higher-level brain areas responsible for things such as attention.

Study: Ketogenic diet appears to prevent cognitive decline in mice

October 12, 2018
We've all experienced a "gut feeling"—when we know deep down inside that something is true. That phenomenon and others (like "butterflies in the stomach") aptly describe what scientists have now demonstrated: that the gut ...

Two seemingly opposing forces in the brain actually cooperate to enhance memory formation

October 12, 2018
The brain allows organisms to learn and adapt to their surroundings. It does this by literally changing the connections, or synapses, between neurons, strengthening meaningful patterns of neural activity in order to store ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.