Are we reading your thoughts, no. All we’re doing is measuring the amount of blood flowing near the surface of your brain and it relates to how hard you’re working, how hard you’re thinking or how much you’re holding in your memory. I want to know how busy you are You might be doing way more than the next person, but I can’t tell by the amount of work you are doing. I can tell by measuring your metal state. A computer is a very powerful information-processing device. Human brain is also very powerful.
The two are connected by this miserable low bandwidth connection of poking things with your finger,
seeing pictures with your eye. User interfaces are complicated and clumsy.
Our goal is to make them easier Could we make the system adapt more to your particular mental stage or to your needs and desires It has to be very easy and passive
It shouldn’t require any specific effort And we need to do it in real time.
And the user interface could adapt to your workload assignments to match
Our particular way is using near-infrared spectroscopy. We’re collaborating with Professor Serigo Fantini in the biomedical engineering department at Tufts Who’s a pioneer in that area so it’s a
fortunate collaboration that we can work on a leading edge measurement technology
because we have the right guy just down the hall My research area is in using light to look inside the human body. to get valuable information about our health and our state of mind when our brain works, when our neurons are firing, are working.
They require energy, and energy comes in the forms of oxygen and glucose, which is provided by the blood flow Oxygenated blood is bright red, while deoxygenated blood is dark red its almost blue so this kind of changing colors is what what we’re sensitive to with optical methods.
With professor Jacob we have been constantly in contact with him, between his group and my group on how to maximize the information content of the data that we have collected The actual instrument we are using is a careful expansive laboratory instrument,
But all that is inside of it is a light measuring device Someday that could be quite cheep and quite portable. The most straightforward application
Its not one we’ve actually done but it’s a good one for explanation.
Is think about air traffic controllers.
You have several air traffic controllers in a busy airport. A new situation arises and when I know which one can handle this job, I could give it to them We have a couple of other experiments where we can measure preference. If you are drowning in information could we use this to figure out what to emphasize or deemphasize.
We’ve also been able to measure interruption The difference between an interruption that derails you versus an interruption where it’s a mindless task going right back to
it without losing anything You can envision this being used in a
convenient device for regular people and regular situations some day and it could make it easier to work with
computers or conversely could we make it so you can do
much harder and more complicated things with the same amount of effort