Science fiction is no longer fiction. Simply by thinking, you can change the world around you.
Recently, coding metasurfaces with active components have permitted real-time and programmable control of EM functions, which were previously static or relatively limited in typical passive counterparts. These types of metasurfaces, however, still necessitate human processes. The brain-computer interface (BCI) is used to set up communication between the brain and devices. This gives programmable metasurfaces a new way to be controlled. By reading brain signals from the “special hat,” a BCI can figure out what the operator wants and send commands to the controlled objects without the operator having to move their muscles.
Professor Tie Jun Cui of Southeast University’s State Key Laboratory of Millimeter Waves and co-workers have created an electromagnetic brain-computer-metasurface (EBCM) to flexibly and non-invasively control information syntheses and wireless transmissions, according to a new paper published in eLight.
Not only can the presented EBCM translate the operator’s brain messages to EEG signals, which may then be translated into various EM commands, but it can also perform wireless “mind-communication” between two operators.
As shown in Figure 1, the commands are shown on a screen in front of the operator. The EBCM can grasp the operator’s intent and perform EM functions such as visual-beam scanning, wave modulations, and pattern encoding by just considering the appropriate command.
As illustrated in Fig. 2, the researchers created and tested a wireless text communication system based on EBCM. For the BCI operator, a text GUI is supplied, with the visual buttons explicitly coded as a special coding sequence consisting of ‘0’ and ‘1’.
In the experiment, the amplitude of metasurface reflections is used to distinguish between codes “1” (high amplitude) and “0” (low amplitude) for wireless information transmission. This is done by using the single-beam mode with high gain and the random scattering mode with low gain. The researchers performed wireless text transmission from one operator to another in the EBCM communication system as a demonstration of the prototype. Operator A, as the text transmitter, sends letters by visually inspecting the EBCM GUI’s character buttons. An ASCII-based encoding sequence is implemented on the FPGA to switch time-varying modes, manipulating the metasurface to transmit information into space, which is received, demodulated, and presented by another operator’s EBCM.
“The average inputting time of each character is about 5s using the P300-based BCI by a skillful BCI operator. It is possible to improve the text input speed by applying some quick-spelling paradigms. It is also worth mentioning that the P300-based BCIs yield great accuracies and robustness among various noninvasive BCIs,” they noted.
“The presented work, combining the EM wave space and BCI, may further open up a new direction to explore the deep integration of metasurface, human brain intelligence, and artificial intelligence, so as to build up new generations of bio-intelligent metasurface systems,” the researchers added.
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