Brain Computer Interface developed by local researcher - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Brain Computer Interface developed by local researcher

ROANOKE, VA -

New technology, being developed in our area, is making it possible for a computer interace to be controlled by our brains.

A Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute Associate Professor and his team, are behind the discovery to decode a person's psychological brain state.

Graduate student, Cyrus Eierud, is getting ready to have his brain decoded.

"The really powerful potential of real-time FMRI is it could give us and the subject conscious access to the mini-processes happening in our brain," VTCRI Associate Professor and developer, Dr. Stephen LaConte says.

Inside the scanner, Cyrus is thinking about tapping his left and right fingers. He then controls this computer and where the scale moves.

"I had this experience of, wow I can really do it," grad student, Cyrus Eierud says.

Dr. Laconte believes the technology can help people with addictions control their cravings.

"This makes it tangible for them," Dr. LaConte says. "They have some concept of the strategy that they were using to suppress their cravings or crave naturally."

Most of us are familiar with MRI's, but Dr. LaConte and his team are using real-time functional MRI-technology. This means they see an instant, video image of what the brain is thinking, oppose to a static image. Dr. LaConte says the technology also has the potential to help treat neurological and psychiatric disorders.

"Being able to help someone with rehabilitation therapy or enhancing their performance or getting better memory, can be quite useful in learning how brain works ," Dr. LaConte says.

Not only is this group on the cutting edge of technology, but they've found a way to put it to good use.