Meet the cyborg who can help decode the human brain

cyborg

His motion capture suit, sensor-embedded gloves, and virtual reality eyewear were already enough to turn heads. But what stopped people in their tracks and made them stare was a bizarre headgear, tightly strapped to his head through a swimming cap-like device embedded with circular electrode connectors. Several springy wires sprouted from the headgear—picture a portable hard drive hooked up to a police siren enclosure—and disappeared into a backpack. The half-cyborg look teetered between sci-fi futurism and hardware Mad Libs.

Meet Mo-DBRS, a setup that could fundamentally change how we decode the human brain.

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The entire platform is a technological chimera that synchronizes brain recordings, biomarkers, motion capture, eye tracking, and AR/VR visuals. Most of the processing components are stuffed into a backpack, so that the wearer isn’t tethered to a “landline” computer. Instead, they can freely move around and explore—either in the real world or in VR—something not usually possible with brain scanning technology like MRI.

Related article:  'Theory of mind': Why artificial intelligence needs to understand how we think

Movement may seem like a trivial addition to brain scanning, but it’s a game changer. Many of our treasured neural capabilities—memory, decision-making—are honed as we explore the world around us. Mo-DBRS provides a window into those brain processes in a natural setting, one where the person isn’t told to hold still while a giant magnet clicks and clangs around their head.

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