Natural relaxation methods can dramatically help people control computers. The University of Minnesota reported on Sept. 25, 2014 that people who practice yoga and meditation can learn to control a computer with their minds quicker and better than people who have little or no yoga or meditation experience. There could be major implications from this research for treatments of people who are paralyzed or who are suffering from neurodegenerative diseases.
There were 36 participants in this study. One of the groups of 12 people had at least one year of experience in yoga or meditation for at least two times per week for one hour. The second group of participants was made up of 24 healthy participants who had little or no experience with yoga or meditation. Each of these groups participated in three, two-hour experiments during which they wore a high tech, non-invasive cap over the scalp which picked up the activity of their brains. The researchers asked the participants to move a computer cursor across the screen by imagining left or right hand movements.
It was observed that the participants with yoga or meditation experience were two times as likely to complete the brain-computer interface task by the completion of 30 trials and they learned three times quicker than their counterparts for the experiments with the left-right cursor movement. Lead researcher Bin He, a biomedical engineering professor, says this study shows for the first time that taking a closer look at the brain side of the brain-computer interface may provide an important tool for decreasing obstacles for success in dealing with brain-computer interface.
Professor He gained international recognition in 2013 when members of his research team demonstrated they could fly a robot with only their minds. However, they observed not everyone can easily learn to use their brains to control a computer. He says the ultimate goal of this research is aimed at helping people who are paralyzed or have brain diseases regain mobility and independence.
This study has been published online in the journal Technology. This is a new scientific journal which features cutting edge new technologies which are being developed in the emerging fields of science and engineering. The researchers used a brain-computer interface system which allows users to interact with their environment by bypassing muscular control in order to tap directly into the users’ thoughts. It is significant to note that yoga and meditation have been found to help people control computers with their minds.