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An Introduction to Brain-Computer Interfaces

In this free online course, study brain-computer interfaces and systems that respond to the brain's neural processes.

Publisher: NPTEL
Imagine creating a computer that can respond to the brain's neural network by digitalising the brain's electrical signals into commands that a computer can understand. This brain-computer interface is a field that combines neuroscience with computer programming and is revolutionising robotics, neurophysiology, and computer science. If these fields interest you, then this course on computer-brain interfaces is for you.
An Introduction to Brain-Computer Interfaces
  • Duration

    6-10 Hours
  • Students

  • Accreditation






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The human brain is the most complex computer known to man. What if this biological computer could communicate with a digital one? The feasibility of this might sound like something taken from a SciFi movie, but it is already possible thanks to brain-computer interfaces. Brain-computer interfaces are devices or systems which respond to the neural processes in the brain. It is a technology based on the acquisition of brain waves which are then processed by a computer to execute commands. Its applications vary from robotic prosthetic limbs that can be controlled by the nervous system and electric wheelchairs that move with a single thought, to digital avatars controlled in an online world with the power of the mind. Imagine a time when those who are disabled regain mobility with the help of artificial limbs or when online gaming allows players to immerse themselves in a virtual world. This course is meant for you if you are interested in robotics, computer science, neuroscience, or neurophysiology.

You will begin the course by receiving an introduction to the field of brain-computer interfaces and learning about the innovations that are currently underway in this exciting new field. Of course, to understand how brain-computer interfaces work, you need to study how brain waves are generated by what neurophysiologists call event-related potentials or ERPs. Each event-related potential depends on where the ERP originated from, whether they are visual, auditory, or somatosensory circuits in the brain. Become familiar with the different types of ERPs. Study how to elicit these event-related potentials through various stimuli and record these ERPs using an electroencephalogram or EEG. Learn about the equipment required to perform these experiments, how to set up all of your instruments, how to design a signal conditioning circuit for biopotential acquisition, where to place the EEG electrodes on the human scalp, how to filter unwanted artefacts from the recordings, and how to interpret the signal readings.

Each of these electrical signals or brain waves has a unique time-frequency relationship that can be digitalised and read by a computer. You will study examples of different event-related potentials and visualise the brain wave on a graph. To help you understand how these brain waves behave, you will learn how to use a computer program known as EEGLAB as well as an extension to this program known as ERPLAB. Explore the different functions of this program as you learn how to use it to plot and interpret event-related potentials, and learn how to use it to perform a wavelet analysis of these biopotential signals to establish the time-frequency relationship of each signal. This course is exciting. While having a background in neuroscience is not completely necessary, knowing how the human brain functions will make this course easier to understand. If you are a programmer or are interested in computers, this course is definitely worth your while. So why wait! Take this Introduction to Brain-Computer Interfaces course and start learning today!



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