Could computers someday interact directly with the human brain?

In the next 50 years we will witness the coming of age of technologies for fluent brain-computer and computer-mediated brain-to-brain interaction. While recent research has delivered important breakthroughs in brain-to-computer transmission, little has been achieved in the other direction – computer-controlled brain stimulation.

HIVE is a FET Open FP7 EU project (2008-2012). Our goal is to research stimulation paradigms to design, develop and test a new generation of more powerful and controllable non-invasive brain stimulation technologies. HIVE will develop improved electrical current distribution and multi-scale neuron-current interaction models and carry out stimulation experiments using tDCS, TMS, EEG and fMRI in different scenarios, and based on these develop multisite transcranial current stimulation technologies implementing real time EEG monitoring and feedback.

HIVE will also explore high-level communication using stimulation, stimulation during different states of consciousness, stimulation and therapy, as well as ‘sense synthesis’, that is, the construction of new perceptions deriving from sensors interacting directly with brains through stimulation systems––all with the goal of probing the limits of non-invasive computer-to-brain interfaces.

The project will also organise two international workshops and carry out dissemination and socio-ethical impact analysis tasks.

We believe that given the fundamental role of interaction in human experience, advances in this area can deliver breakthrough technologies of great value in addition to advancing the state-of-the-art in fundamental neuroscience research, neurology diagnosis and therapy.