While VR tech is making progress by leaps and bounds in stimulating body to feel, sense and touch virtual reality, Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI) are expected to shift the entire ground in near future. BCIs are not a new concept, neither is the interest that’s led tech experts to pursue it. Technological advancements have led to the invention of haptic suits, omni directional treadmills and other revolutionary gear to make a hyper-realistic VR experience.
But what if instead of stimulating every nerve separately to create a realistic sensation in VR, we can trigger full immersion from one point in our body. No need to wear ridiculously intrusive suits and gear. Sounds like a dream, right? But experts have already grasped on making this dream a reality to create full immersion virtual reality: BCI.
At the moment, no one has perfected the 2-3 senses that can be simulated decently in VR: vision, audio, and touch. Although taste and smell simulations are also under work, they’re far from being launched as successful products in market. Ideal solution that could touch all bases in VR appears to be brain. By stimulating a single organ, people can be led to feel sensations all over their body without wearing any extra gear.
BCIs would not only help in reading the brain but will also solve one of the biggest issues of virtual reality interfaces: input. Typing on a virtual screen, pointing at a tab or tapping at an element of VR can be a really bad experience. Being able to do all that with just one thought would be a great step forward for virtual reality users.
Not long ago, Elon Musk announced his own pursuit of BCIs claiming that once available, everyone would want to have it.
“You’re already a different creature than you would have been 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago. I think people — they’re already kind of merged with their phone and their laptop and their applications and everything.”
~ Elon Musk
Current BCIs are using EEG to process and translate brain waves quickly into control signals for virtual reality software. As of now, companies have introduced BCI in VR, AR and XR, and have been able to detect emotions, objects in scene to interact with, and inputs from your limbs. Others are working on a futuristic BCI that will stop at nothing and will make everything possible – or at least that’s the goal.
Whether the combination of BCI and VR is used for entertainment, AI advancement or medical use, it is set to have a significant impact on the future of our society. Let’s see how long it takes us to touch the reality shown in Matrix.