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Dump the mouse, control PC with brain

business Updated: May 11, 2012 22:44 IST

ANI
Highlight Story

First we had keyboards and mouse for controlling our computers, before smartphones popularised the touchscreen movement.

And then hardware such as the Xbox’s Kinect system made gesture controls feel like second-nature.

Now, people are getting ready to enter the world of thought-control, with headsets that can read our minds now available for as little as 300 pounds, and the software to transform our dreams into actions starting to take shape.

Kevin Brown, senior inventor at IBM, works to bridge the gap between budding technology and the practical applications they can provide to society.

He is already working hard to make everyday tasks easier through mind control, using headsets like the commercially-available Emotiv Systems headset.

The Emotiv headset retails for 299 dollars and can easily be plugged into any recent Windows machine to start working, with apps and games - including Angry Birds - being adapted by enthusiasts to run with simple mind controls.

“The current headsets can already pick up a range of sensory input from our brains, and this will only improve over time,” the Daily Mail quoted Kevin, who has been an IBM for 16 years, as saying.

“The Emotiv Systems set can pick up a range of emotions - currently whether we are bored or excited, and if we are concentrating on a task or if we are relaxed.

“It can also pick up on what our brain is telling our muscles to do, so it can pick up a smile or a frown, and react accordingly.”

The cleverest aspect of the system is in picking up our EEG brainwaves. Users can quickly train the software to understand various patterns.

“The system is not “reading our minds”, it is instead recognising certain patterns, and passing that information to a control unit which can then respond to that input,” he said.

For example, researchers are experimenting at IBM with the idea of the “Connected Home”, where, for instance, lamps are wired into the system.

“You can think of turning on the lamp, tell the system that this particular thinking pattern relates to turning on the lamp, and then whenever the headset recognises that pattern, it will send the command to turn on the lamp,” he added.