This section is intended to give a brief overview of milestone events in the past of brain-machine-interfaces or brain-computer-interfaces with helpful links to more info. 

A perfect start for your own research.
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  • 2015

    BCI Society was created

    The BCI society was created to 
    “to foster research and development leading to technologies that enable people to interact with the world through brain signals”.

  • 2013


    OpenBCI.com initiates as a community driven open-source platform for makers and consumers. Self-printable EEG-headsets, ciruit boards, software and learning courses allow enthusiasts, researcher and consumer to get a cheap and easy entry to experiment with the technology.

  • 2013

    Thought transfer in brain-to-brain interface

    Miguel Nicolelis and his team succeded in an experiment that allowed thought transfer between two mouse brains through the internet over a distance of 7000 miles. A nice Video shows the setup. According to the scientist the experiment had a 70% correct rate.

  • 2008

    Brain interfacing with Computer Games

    Around this time two brilliant papers reseraching about how BCI's will affect Computer Games and VR. The first paper is showing reserach of different universities on VR and virtual game pads.
    The second paper asks the question why a healthy individual would want to use a BCI and applying knowledge from Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) to the design of BCI for games.

  • 2006

    DARPA rolls out insect-cyborg program

    Ayesa Paul and Dr. Amit Lal at DARPA surgically implanted micro-platforms in Manduca sexta Moths. The goal for DARPA was to create remote-controlled or GPS-guided bugs that are able to transmit data from onboard sensors and cameras.

  • 2006

    Boy plays Computer game with his mind

    Electrocorticography (ECoG) technologies trialled in humans by Eric Leuthardt and Daniel Moran from Washington University enable a teenage boy to play Space Invaders with his mind.
    ECoG measures the electrical activity of the brain from above the cortex, beneath the dura mater. ECoG are less invasive than implants inside the cortex but deliver better signal than electrodes that measure non-invasive from outside the skull.

  • 2005

    First human uses BMI to control a robot arm

    Tetraplegic Matt Nagle controls an artificial hand using a  Cyberkinetics’s BrainGate chip-implant, implanted in Nagle's right precentral gyrus (motor cortex). Allowing Nagle to control a robotic arm by thinking about moving his hand as well as a computer cursor, lights and TV.

  • 2004

    Brain-in-a-dish interacts with jet simulator

    Thomas DeMarse, professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Floridacultures 25,000 neurons to fly a fighter jet aircraft simulator. In the experiment the neurons are taken from a mouse's brain cultured in a petri dishThe living neural network rapidly begins to reconnect itselves. To control the pitch and yaw functions of the simulator a grid of 60 electrodes is placed underneath the cells.

  • 2004

    Mental Ping-Pong

    Dr. Rainer Goebel from the University of Maastrich conducted an experiment with MRI’s where two participants play PONG against another just using their mind. No implants where used and the software was able to run in real-time.

  • 2000

    BCI restores sight for blind patient

    William H. Dobelle implants a BCI into blind patient "Jerry's" head and restores limited sight. The system feeds images from a digital camera to a belt-mounted signal processor into the visual cortex.
    Starting 2002 Dobelle offers this method commecially. Blind Jens Naumann drives a car around a parking ground using this device.

  • 1999

    First international BCI meeting

    The first international BCI meeting takes place at Rensselaerville Institute, New York with 50 delegates and 24 labs participating. This marks the beginning of the bloom of this research field.

  • 1999

    Rats control robot arm with BCI

    John K. Chapin and Miguel Nicolelis succeed first time to have mice controlling a robot arm with an implated Brain-Computer Interface in experiments. Two years later they proof the same with monkeys.

  • 1998

    First human types with his mind only

    Dr. Phil Kennedy, neuroscientist and founder of Neural Signals, invents the neurotrophic electrode and has it implanted it the brain of locked-in patient Johnny Ray. With some practice Ray was able to move a cursor on a screen and type words.

  • 1996

    DBS gets FDA approval

    The first Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) gets approved by the American Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for essential tremor and Parkinson's disease (PD).

  • 1994

    Dry Active Electrodes developed

    Babak Taheri, at University of California, Davis shows these new electrodes capable to measure brain activity. The advantages of such electrodes are:
    (1) no electrolyte used,
    (2) no skin preparation,
    (3) significantly reduced sensor size, and (4) compatibility with EEG monitoring systems.

  • 1988


    Scientists Farwell and Donchin successfully test a BCI for spelling letters based on Event-Related Potentials (ERP). A 6*6 grid of letters and digits is displayed on a computer screen, each flashing randomly. The user is asked to silently count the flashes of the letter she/he wants to select. The correct letter is found by syncronizing the counting speed read out through an EEG with the flashings of the P300-speller.

  • 1988


    The first brain control over a 
    robotic device using EEG is reported by Stevo Bozinovski, Liljana Bozinovska and Mihail Sestakov.

  • 1980ies

    Mapping and understanding brains

    Within the 1980ies scientests around 
    Apostolos Georgopoulos at Johns Hopkins University conducted experiments to read signals from groups of brain cells, process them and conduct predictions what certain brain-action-potential could mean. For example, see neurons firing in a monkeys motorical cortex and then tell what limb the monkey was wanting to move.

  • 1973

    Term "Brain-Computer Interface" was coined

    Jacques J. Vidal, a Belgium researcher at the University of California, coined the term “Brain-Computer Interface”. In his report Vidal describes BCIs as “utilizing the brain signals in a man-computer dialogue” and “as a mean of control over external processes such as computers or prosthetic devices”.

  • 1968

    First implants in animals brains

    Dr. Jose Delgado, a Spanish Neuroscientist at Yale University, implanted a device that he called the "stimoceiver" into the cortex of a bull in Cordoba. He could push a button on his radio transmitter and the raging bull instantly stopped raging and stood still (CNN report on YouTube).  Here a well written article about Dr. Delagados life and work.

  • 1924

    Electroencephalogram (EEG)

    Hans Berger, a German psychiatrist, 
    made the first EEG recording of human brain activity and called it Elektrenkephalogramm.
    Using the EEG he was also the first to describe the different waves
    or rhythms which were present in the normal and abnormal brain, such as
    the alpha wave rhythm (7.812–13.28 Hz), also known as "Berger's wave".

  • 1875

    Discovery of electrical signals in animal brains

    Richard Canton, a British physician and physiologist reported on 4th of August 1875 to the British Medical Association in Edinburgh that he had used a galvanometer to observe electrical impulses from the surfaces of living brains in the rabbit and monkey.