Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Using Brain Computer Interfaces for something useful

There are now a whole collection of Brain Computer Interfaces around... and this latest one from the games company Mattel uses the power of concentration to make a ping pong ball hover. The technology is supplied by NeuroSky, who have also provided the technology for a Star Wars game - $50-$100 for the fun of using "brain waves to allow players to manipulate a sphere within a clear 10-inch-tall training tower..." - something I could imagine myself doing just the once. Never-the-less it's quite good to see the technology coming down in price.

What fascinates me however is how we might be able to use brain waves for real personal benefit and integrate it more with our every day computer interaction experience. People who have severe motor difficulties could use it as a rehabilitative aid. Performing product research, it can be used for detecting when people are excited or not when they experience a particular product or website. When we are browsing on-line, we could combine it with eye tracking to provide feedback on what really interests us, and then tailor our online experience accordingly. When we go to the shops... the cinema... driving in the car... feedback can be provided to enterprise systems in all sorts of situations, which in turn can affect the environment around us. I'm really looking forward to talking with a number of customers about how they can integrate this and other interface technology in their own innovative projects in 2009!

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