Wearable Brain-Computer Interfaces for measuring mental states: After data, are we loosing also thoughts privacy?

In the last two decades, Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) has gained great interest in the technical-scientific community, and more and more effort has been done to overcome its limitations in daily use. In Industry 4.0 framework, human becomes part of a highly-composite automated system and new-generation user interfaces, integrating cognitive, sensorial, and motor skills, are designed. Humans can send messages or decisions to the automation system through BCI by intentional modulation of brain waves. However, through the same signal, the system (and, hence, also the human being part of it) acquires information on the user status.

In this talk, most interesting results of this technological research effort, as well as its further most recent developments, are reviewed. In particular, after a short survey on research at University of Naples Federico II also in cooperation with CERN, the presentation focuses mainly on state-of-the-art research on wearable measurement systems for acting robots and monitoring mental states (emotions, engagement, distraction, stress and so on). Tens of disparate case studies, carried out by Federico II researchers, spacing from children autism rehabilitation to robotic inspection in hazardous sites, are reported. Special attention is given also to ethic and law issues arising from daily use, by leaving puzzling questions to attendees.