President Obama impressed by Israeli brain-computer interface projects
As part of his Israel trip President Obama gave accolades to researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) who presented two projects based on brain-computer interface technology at the Israel Museum technology showcase.
Accompanied by Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama saw MinDesktop, a hands-free thought-controlled computer developed by three BGU graduate, and ElMindA, a start-up company that makes brain scanners for detecting diseases and head injuries—and has even worked with the Pittsburgh Steelers, a professional football team, to better help detect, predict and prevent concussions. As Professor Amir Geva, the scientist/founder behind the ElMindA explained the product wearing a cap with tiny light bulbs, Obama nodded and called it “a great idea.”
The other project, the MinDesktop computer is being designed to help disabled people communicate with just their thoughts. During the demonstration, a student “patient” wore a cap with 14 EEG connect points that sense brain activity. A second student explained that as the patient thought of different items — a flower, music or an automobile — the patient could manipulate the cursor to specific colors on a computer screen that controlled what the patient wanted to do.
According to the Newsweek/Daily Beast, Obama said to Netanyahu of the MinDesktop inventors, “These guys have deeper thoughts probably than the two of us.”
“Today, we were stars, and it is so incredibly gratifying to be able to present two examples of the cutting-edge technology being developed and commercialized by BGU,” says Doron Krakow, executive vice president, American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev based in New York City. “We are proud of the two groups from ElmindA and MinDesktop who are fulfilling Ben-Gurion University’s mission to develop technologies that are helping people in Israel, in the United States and around the world.”