Knowing that our Café, Bionics: A Lesson in Biomechanics and Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCI) café might be a bit difficult for younger students to understand, our Teen Leader Courtney Vishy developed a brief fact sheet on BCI. She focused her attention on the basics, keeping it simple and easy to read so students could go into the Café with an overview understanding of the topic before hearing from the bio-engineer. Students used her fact sheet to ask questions about BCI.
What is it?
Direct communication pathway between the brains biomechanics and an outside device.
Why is it used?
For assisting or repairing a function of the body such as hearing, sight, or movement
How does it work?
The brain is made up of neurons, or nerve cells, that carry information to and from everywhere in the body through the use of electrical impulses.
These impulses can be detected using an electroencephalograph (EEG) which reads the signals of the brain by attaching sensors to the outside of the skull.
Electrodes can also be used to detect the signals and are placed directly in the brain.
It can then be figured out what part of the brain controls individual parts of the body and using this information we can determine how to make certain signals control things other than our body.
For example, with correct attachments and technology, the brain can send signals to close a fist to a robotic hand that will then process the signal and close into a fist.
Download this resource from the Academy of Science – St. Louis, a member of the Gateway Teen Science Café.
The resource was developed by Youth Leader Courtney Vishy.