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J Neural Eng. 2008 Mar;5(1):P1-P15. doi: 10.1088/1741-2560/5/1/P01. Epub 2008 Jan 17.

Brain-computer symbiosis.

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Brain-Computer Interface Research and Development Program, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Albany, NY, USA.


The theoretical groundwork of the 1930s and 1940s and the technical advance of computers in the following decades provided the basis for dramatic increases in human efficiency. While computers continue to evolve, and we can still expect increasing benefits from their use, the interface between humans and computers has begun to present a serious impediment to full realization of the potential payoff. This paper is about the theoretical and practical possibility that direct communication between the brain and the computer can be used to overcome this impediment by improving or augmenting conventional forms of human communication. It is about the opportunity that the limitations of our body's input and output capacities can be overcome using direct interaction with the brain, and it discusses the assumptions, possible limitations and implications of a technology that I anticipate will be a major source of pervasive changes in the coming decades.

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