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Brain Controlling Interface Lets You Dial The Phone By Thought

Photo: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

This new technology would do me no good.  Unfortunately, I am too reliant on my speed dial contact list to  remember phone numbers.  Although, I can see how this would be helpful for those people who are disabled and need the hands-free option. 

Researchers in California have created a way to place a call on a cell phone using just your thoughts. Their new brain-computer interface is almost 100 percent accurate for most people after only a brief training period.

The system was developed by Tzyy-Ping Jung, a researcher at the Swartz Center for Computational Neuroscience at the University of California, San Diego, and colleagues. Besides acting as an ultraportable aid for severely disabled people, the system might one day have broader uses. For example, it could create the ultimate hands-free experience for cell-phone users, or be used to detect when drivers or air-traffic controllers are getting drowsy by sensing lapses in concentration.

Like many other such interfaces, Jung’s system relies on electroencephalogram (EEG) electrodes on the scalp to analyze electrical activity in the brain.

In theory, the approach could be used to help severely disabled people communicate, says Jung. But he believes the technology doesn’t have to be limited to such applications. “I want to target larger populations,” he says.

However, Eric Leuthardt, director of the Center for Innovation and Neuroscience Technology at Washington University, is not convinced. “Reducing the size of the processors to a cell phone is a natural step,” he says. He says the kind of visually evoked response used in Jung’s research has been around for years, but it usually requires a large visual stimulus, which small cell phone displays are unlikely to elicit.

Technology continues to amaze me.  I remember years ago they told me I would some day,  be able to swipe a card to purchase something and not have to write a check or use cash….and here we are!  Do you think that we will live like the cartoon characters of the Jetson’s someday?  Driving hoovering space ships, living in space bubbles with robots?  Don’t laugh….it just could be on the horizon.

via Dialing with Your Thoughts – Technology Review.

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