Fiction | The force of thought: Myth or Reality?




Fiction | The force of thought: Myth or Reality?

Voice control devices has become a reality in 2012. In the not-too-distant future, you may well be able to ask your smartphone to run the application, check e-mail or to increase the volume in one effort of thought. Currently, Samsung is experimenting with a tablet that will interact with your brain using sensors mounted on the head of EEG. Other companies are also working on similar products.

And although this is still at an early stage, the brain-computer interface (BCI), a technology that is gaining momentum in the field of consumer electronics.

InteraXon, one of the pioneers of BCI, sells a head band called Muse, which measures brain activity in real time, and displays on the screen of a smartphone or tablet. This “hat” comes with four clinical EEG sensors built into the enclosure to monitor your brain activity.

“I have never met a person who would not be thrilled with the opportunity to manage something by thinking,” – says CEO InteraXON Ariel Garten. Unlike Google Glass, which still left dissatisfied among future customers.

Devices controlled by thought, coming up

Управление силой мысли

Despite the fact that the management of devices by thought is not an end devices such as Muse, unable to tiaras – to show you what is happening inside your head.

“The technology simply unmatched,” – says Garten. – “One of the most desirable things for people – to strengthen their mental abilities to really show outstanding results everywhere – at work and at home. Above this is working. ”

Muse – just one of several devices in the growing market BCI-oriented pieces. Cat ears Brainwave Cat Ears of Necomimi ($ 70) are moving, when the “stir” your brain. And at CES 2013 a neurologist and a former software engineer Roger Skortsioni won Hackathon from AT & T with the application Goog Times, which allows you to reset a phone call while you are busy, with most of these tabs.

“I believe that this is only one of the potential technologies to control the intensity of thought” – said Skortsioni. – “All of them will become an integral part of our lives, and maybe someday we will be totally dependent on them.”

Good Times reported with Brainwave Cat Ears, reading the level of activity of your brain. iOS-application uses these parameters to decide whether to accept the call or send the subscriber to call later.

“If you are mentally engaged, the signal will not be higher,” – says Skortsioni. – “It just changes the type of electrical activity. The question is not to identify the threshold, and data analysis and fixing the time when the brain is loaded to the eyeballs. ”

As Muse, and Good Times allow you to work with your smartphone at a basic level, but does not allow you to perform more complex and sophisticated task. You still can not publish anything on Twitter, just thinking about it, or control the character of the game, giving the team the power of thought.

“As a rule, Muse is working with things that are cyclical in nature and may be repeated up and down.”

Outside touch


Although BCI research continues, it remains unclear whether they promise to fully contactless mobile management: BCI technology can actually handle and interpret your thoughts, but only measures the electrical activity occurring in your head.

«BCI does not read thoughts,” – says Hasan Ayaz, a researcher at the scope of biomedical engineering at Drexel University in Philadelphia. – “It’s just grabbing what fascinated by the user. It does not interfere in individual thinking, which is very good for private security. ”

Today, BCI is mainly used for clinical purposes, to help users with physical disabilities, muscular disorders, and those who can not make full use of their limbs. Ayaz says, BCI research began 23 years ago, and their goal was to simplify the communication of clinical patients.

“Despite the fact that the BCI is in the early stages of development and is being constantly improved, it is the only option for some,” – says Ayaz. – “The target audience is presented, for the most part, clinical patients, so anything that can improve their interaction with the outside world, it is important and useful.”

This is the principle of the creation of new ways to interact with mobile devices, which are interested in Samsung. In collaboration with the University of Texas at Dallas, maker of smartphones creates a coating, dotted with EEG sensors that allow users to control the force of Galaxy thoughts. The researchers found that users are quite able to run the application and make a choice, focusing on the icon.

“A few years ago, a small keyboard was the only way to control the phone, but now the user has the right to use your voice, gestures, touch and eye movements to work”, – said Ince Kim, one of the main developers of Samsung. – “Adding a few more ways to provide us with input for a richer experience of interaction with mobile devices.”

The fight against oppression

Управление силой мысли

A major problem in the development of devices controlled by thought, is the placement and appearance of the EEG sensors. According to Skortsioni, advantages provided by these devices, wearable in real life on a regular basis, are not sufficient to convince most people to wear a headset.

“Our research has shown that not many people are willing to wear the headset,” – says Skortsioni. – “They do not get so many benefits yet. There are a number of limitations before you simply say, “well, you will be able to control the device with a thought.” And why now wear tiaras and these sensors? ”

InteraXon bypassed this obstacle with a headset Muse, since it can simply be placed in a hat or cap, successfully hiding. At the same time, other carriers BCI-devices will be in the forefront, like those who wear Google Glass. “In my head, it looks stylish and provocative. But at the same time it must demonstrate a phenomenal opportunity that technology allows, “- says Garten.

There is a problem in the development of sensors EEG dry to such a degree that they can be easily used by all users. Normal EEG sensor that is widespread in the clinical setting requires a liquid layer between the sensor and the skin of the head, to amplify the signal. Samsung studying the use of dry sensors and hopes to one day create some cap with BCI-technology, so it can be worn at all times.

“Dry sensors are practical for daily use, since you do not need to use the gel every time. If we can succeed in improving the signal power or machinery, we are able to do and more gimmicks. ”

Thinking about the future

Управление силой мысли

It will take quite a bit of time and controlled by the brain interfaces will become part of everyday life. Garten believes that with all this technology can be transformed into other forms more appropriate daily activities of people.

“You may see a different device other than glasses or cell mobile phone … thing that sits behind the ear and stays natural. It may be a new technology that will be the main link in our communications of the future . ”

How many years will pass before the BCI will be mainstream? All depends not only on the pace of innovation, but also on the recognition of users. Garten says it will take 20-25 years in the present circumstances, before the technology will become as popular as touch screens today.
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