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Electrophysiology: In Control and Being Controlled

Electrophysiology: In Control and Being Controlled
  • On November 9, 2015

‘Computers will overtake humans with AI at some within the next 100 years.’ said by Stephen Hawking (2015) at the Zeitgeist conference. Artificial Intelligence may be little far away from our life at present. But another technology has been invented to overtake a part of human body. It is electrophysiology. Electrophysiology is the study of the electrical properties of biological cells and tissues (Massimo S., 2009). Actually, human behavior has been managed by the brain using nerves. At some of nerve endings which are very close to the skin, biological signals of nerve are translated to very weak electronic signals. The theory of electrophysiology is to record the amplified electronic signals or send the weak signals to nerve to simulate biological signals. Thus, by this way, people could control many things by their weak signals. Oppositely, a part of human body could be controlled by others or even computers.

The common utility of electrophysiology is electrocardiogram machine (Impressive, 2013). The machine display the signal of heartbeat for doctor to diagnose the illness. More advanced usage in modern medicine is the artificial lamb. It translates the biological signals at interface to ensure the brain can control the lamb. Nowadays, the method has been widely used in many field. A mind controlled motor cortex has been invented by a biomedical engineering professor Bin He. A brain-computer interface allows the user to move the copter around a course with thoughts alone. “Users don an electro-encephalography (EEG) cap with 64 attached electrodes that pick up signals from the brain. When participants think about a specific movement – up, down, right or left, for instance – neurons in the brain’s motor cortex produce tiny electric signals that are then sent to a computer.” explained Bin He.

How about reverse operation? How can human being be controlled by machine? In a TED talk speech, ‘how to control someone else’s arm’, Professor Greg Gage (2015) displayed an experience about how to use the technology of electrophysiology to control a part of others body. Gage attaches electrodes to one woman’s arm and measures the signals sent from her brain to make her arm move. He then attached electrodes to another man’s arm. The signals sent from the woman’s brain are then sent to the man’s arm. The audience watches in awe as she is able to control his arm with her brain. Even if this experience only use a nerve which near the skin and controlled three figures, it means the reverse operation is viable and can be explored. Controlling other’s body will be a realistic technology in several years.

How could people utilize this several inventions in the daily life when the technology become true? They can control the size of a space. A soft bubble house which inflates by fan can be controlled by user’s will. The space of bubble house can be enlarged when user’s brain send message to the fan telling it to boost pressure.

On the other hand, the reverse operation, we can record one’s biological signals in a computer, edit a serial of actions and send to a human body. It really achieves the aim of use robot to control human beings. Like what we talk about at beginning. Thinking about when a dancing teacher teaching students by this method, students can easily to follow and feeling it. Moreover, perhaps, we can save some historically memorial event in a space and review it in hundred years.


Gage G., 2015. How to control someone else’s arm with your brain. [online] Available at: < > [Accessed 5 November, 2015].

Impressive New Tech, 2013. Mind Controlled Quad Copter. [online] Available at: < > [Accessed 5 November, 2015].

Massimo S., 2009. Electrophysiology in the age of light. Nature 461 (7266): 930—9.

Nicole Wilson. The Digital World Never Sleeps: The Week that Was. [online] Available at: < > [Accessed 5 November, 2015].

The Lavin Blog, 2015. How To Control Someone Else With Your Brain: TED Fellow Greg Gage. [online] Available at: < > [Accessed 5 November, 2015].


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