Learning to Use Brain-Computer Interfaces

Ed Yong, Jun 11, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Discovering how we learn in a completely new domain is teaching us more about how we learn. In this case, reserachers are studying how we learn to use brain-controlled interfaces (BCIs). These are sensors that detect brain activity in order to move cursors, remote-controlled helicopters, and even artificial limbs. "We learn to use BCIs in the same way that we learn other motor skills, like riding a bicycle or throwing a ball. At first, it takes deliberate conscious effort and involves a network of many different brain regions. As people practice, however, the tasks become easier and almost automatic, and the network becomes much less active... we will be able to design systems that train users in the most effective way possible, slowly adding complexity while they develop skill."

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