By: Chris O'Shea
Picture this: You're sitting at your kitchen table, and want to turn the TV to something better than "Yo Gabba Gabba," but the remote is in the other room. You concentrate, and presto, the remote is carried over to your hands, all with a little mind power. While that's not exactly happening right now, a few companies are moving closer to making that scenario a reality as they debut headsets that allow its wearers to control video games and other digital devices. It's not quite "The Force," yet, but we'll take it.
According to The Wall Street Journal, these new devices transmit your brain waves to a pre-programmed electronic, allowing you to control it. The devices take advantage of electroencephalography, otherwise known as EEG technology. EEG analyzes your brains activity, mainly in the frontal portion. The headsets' sensors then pick up on those waves and converts it to a command that alters the desired object.
The main catalyst behind this movement is NeuroSky, a company that created mind control tech back in 2009. If you're using mind tech, chances are you're using something that originated at NeuroSky. "There is going to be a whole ecosystem of new players, and NeuroSky is very well-positioned to be like the Intel of this new industry," Alvaro Fernandez, chief executive officer of SharpBrains, a brain analyst company, told The Journal. "They are to be inside a lot of what's going on."
The tool being used is the $129 MindWave Mobile headset. The headware is behind such games as Mind Hunter and Mind Labyrinth. In Mind Hunter, users put on the gear and use it to fire their weapons. The only way to do so is to concentrate on the task. In Mind Labyrinth, users must relax their minds in order to access new levels of the game. In another video game using the MindWave Mobile headset, users must focus to increase game play.
It's not just games that NeuroSky's tech is influencing. A prison in London is using mind control games to teach inmates to calm themselves when facing intense or hostile situations. And medical experts, who have for many years used brain exercises to reduce conditions such as ADD and PTSD, are excited about what mind control games can mean for their industry and the many people suffering from these conditions. It would be a lot easier to teach a hyper kid that relaxing is beneficial if he was tethered to a video game.
While brain control tech is in its infancy, the results so far point to much more expansion and improvements. There is an entire world waiting to be altered by the brain and a simple headset. The day when we can grab our remote from the other room isn't far away, which means we're all basically on the verge of becoming Luke Skywalker, minus the awful haircut. It's exciting to think about.
[Pic via Flickr - Rob Boudon]