It sounds like something from a science fiction film, but software company Emotiv have developed an EEG headset that allows consumers to operate simple tasks such as direct a remote control car using just the power of the mind. Of course completing a mundane task such as this might not seem much, but these small steps highlight the life changing potential that future technology can bring.
Many researchers are working towards developing an EEG headset that allows people living with paralysis to control things and complete tasks using mind control. It’s hoped that eventually the technology will be developed enough for people in everyday environments to think about typing an email and see their instructions realized on the computer screen in front of them or even control a prosthetic limb.
Emotiv’s software seems to be on the cusp of revolutionizing the way in which people live with physically restricting disabilities. Currently the headsets have been used to play video games, such as World of Warcraft, and even create music just through the power of thought. The latter of which was realized in Project Mindtunes, which saw DJ Fresh collaborate with disabled musicians to produce a track using brainwaves and emotions that were translated into music beats through EEG technology.
At present, EEG headsets are mainly used for scientific and psychological research. The technology allows scientists to read the brainwaves of an individual, and these can then be visualized into brain maps to show how different parts of the brain operates, known as the localization of function.
Recently the headsets were used to read the brainwaves of poker players of varying levels to highlight the differences between how an amateur thinks during a game verses a professional. The study revealed that professionals not only show much higher levels of engagement throughout the game but that they are also able to control their emotions and self control better than less experienced players.
Ten years ago, using EEG technology for creating music, studying poker players and playing video games would have been unheard of. It’s only in the last couple of years that the technology has become more affordable and readily available for the consumer. Tan Le, the CEO and founder of Emotiv, believes this is the key to unlocking the mysteries of our brain.
She advocates democratizing the technology so that anyone interested in brain activity can collect and analyze data, which will fuel innovation and help us understand brain related illnesses and ultimately cure them. We’re not quite there yet, but the reality of mind control in everyday life is certain to become a reality for the younger generations.