Thursday, November 5, 2009

Brain-Machine Interface in the 19th century

Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) is not really a new technology as we can read from the news from IEEE Spectrum. There was a Head Set in the 19th century by pseudo-scientist, called "Phrenologist". The purpose of phrenology is to find correlation between a person's character and the morphology of the skull.

In one article of IEEE Spectrum, the picture number 2 shows the head set. It is mentioned like this:

HEAD CASE: Today’s electromedical researchers are busy mapping the brain, but 19th-century electrical engineers were already on the case. This electrical phrenology apparatus consists of two parts, a headpiece and a wooden box containing a sledge induction coil and three batteries. The headpiece forms a crown 23 centimeters (9 inches) in diameter with 13 brass electrodes evenly spaced across it.

From the picture, we can see the early research of Brain-Machine Interface. Well, it is not really a machine since the function is unknown. For more information about the history of Phrenology can be seen from their website.

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