Control Technology With Your Mind for Only $299
It won’t be long until your students will be using mind/machine interfaces, controlling technology with their thoughts and the scientists at Emotiv have created a device that retails for $299 and points the way toward this inevitable future.
Controlling technology with one’s mind has obvious application for those with physical handicaps, but any of us who interact with technology are constantly being presented with opportunities to use better, cheaper, faster, easier, and more streamlined methods of manipulating technologies.
With this month’s revelation by a Mayo Clinic researcher who has implanted brain wave receiving electrodes placed directly on the brain instead of on the scalp, allowing people to type with just their thoughts, I’ve been reading more about interest in the non-implanted (and inexpensive) brain wave receiving device that one can simply wear like a baseball cap.
How does it work?
This technology (and company) have been around awhile. Inc. magazine’s David H. Freedman wrote an article just over one year ago which outlined his personal experience with an early version of the device and this five minute video will give you an idea of the potential (NOTE: sorry about the instant loading and advertisement...but it's the only way to embed the video for your easy access):
The key to Emotiv’s technology is to capture brain wave activity and translate that in to control commands for technologies such as personal computer application use or videogaming.
Think of this device as somewhat similar a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse: it’s a control device that requires “handshaking” to your PC which is typically done by installing control panel software and then configuring the device to be used just the way you like it.
Whether it’s casting magic spells using your mind or relaying expressions in real time, EmoKey links the Emotiv technology to your applications by easily converting detected events into any combination of keystrokes. EmoKey is a nonintrusive, lightweight, background process that runs behind your existing games or applications.
EmoKey lets you create profiles that define how detections are mapped to keystroke combinations. Your profiles can then be saved and shared so you can use profiles that your friends have created for your favorite games and software. EmoKey profiles can be as simple as linking the Expressiv smile detection to characters such as “:)”, so that chat applications instantly know when you smile. Or they can be as complex as linking a “lift” command to a sequence of keystrokes that trigger a levitation spell in a game.
When combined, the Emotiv EPOC neuroheadset and Emokey make your inputs more simple, personal, natural, and direct. There’s no need for keystroke combinations or delays, simply smile or focus on a command and your applications respond. And EmoKey can be used to enhance any interactive digital experience, making it much more intuitive and life-like.
No question The difference with Emotiv’s device is that it requires training in much the same way much of today’s voice recognition software requires you to “train” it to recognize your unique ways of speaking (e.g., Dragon NaturallySpeaking software). But you can see the possibilities as this technology continues to evolve.