Toronto-based (Canada) company, InteraXon has just presented a portable brainwave controller at the ParisLeWeb 2012 meeting according to a Dec. 5, 2012 article by Nancy Owano for phys.org,
A Canadian company is talking about having a window, aka computer screen, into your mind. Another of the many ways to put it—they believe your computer can be so into you. And vice-versa. InteraXon, a Canadian company, is focused on making a business out of mind-control technology via a headband device, and they are planning to launch this as a $199 brainwave computer controller called Muse. The company is running an Indiegogo campaign to obtain needed funds. Muse is a Bluetooth-connected headset with four electroencephalography sensors, communicating with the person’s computer via the Bluetooth connection.
Here’s more about the technology from InteraXon’s How It Works webpage,
Your brain generates electrical patterns that resonate outside your head, which accumulate into brainwaves detectable by an Electroencephalograph (EEG). The EEG can’t read your thoughts, just your brain’s overall pattern of activity, like how relaxed or alert you are. With practice you can learn to manipulate your brainwave pattern, like flexing a muscle you’ve never used before.
InteraXon’s interface works by turning brainwaves into binary (ones and zeros). We’re like interpreters fluent in the language of the mind: our system analyses the frequency of your brainwaves and then translates them into a control signal for the computer to understand.
Just like a button or switch can activate whatever it’s connected to, your translated brainwaves can now control anything electric. InteraXon designers and engineers make the experience so seamless, the connected technology seems like an extension of your own body.
It would be nice to have found a little more technical detail.
InteraXon is currently featuring its work at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver (Canada) as an example of past work,
When visitors arrive at Bright Ideas, InteraXon’s thought-controlled computing experience custom designed and built for the 2010 Olympics, they are lead to their own pod. In front of each pod is a large projection screen as well as a small training screen. Once seated, a trained host hands them a headset that will measure their brain’s electrical signals.
With help from the host, the participants learn to deliberately alter their brainwaves. By focusing or relaxing their mind, they learn to change the display on their training screen; music and seat vibrations provide immediate feedback to speed the learning process to five minutes or less. Now they are ready for the main event.
Thoughts are turned into light patterns instantaneously as their brain’s digital signal is beamed over the Rocky Mountains, across vast prairies all the way to three major Ontario icons – a distance of 3000 km.
This project – a first at this grand scale – allows each participant to experience a very personal connection with these massive Ontario landmarks, and with every Canadian watching the lightshow, whether online, or in-person.
As for Muse, InteraXon’s latest project, the company has a campaign on Indiegogo to raise money. Here’s the video on the campaign website,
They seem very excited about it all, don’t they? The question that arises is whether or not you actually need a device to let you know when you’re concentrating or when your thoughts are wandering. Apparently, the answer is yes. The campaign has raised over $240,000 (they asked for $150,000) and it’s open until Dec. 7, 2012. If you go today, you will find that in addition to the other pledge inducements there’s a special ParisLeWeb $149 pledge for one day only (Dec. 5, 2012). Here’s where you go.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Spark radio programme featured an interview (either in Nov. or Dec. 2012) with Ariel Garten, Chief Executive Office of InteraXon discussing her company’s work. You can find podcast no. 197 here (it is approximately 55 mins. and there are other interviews bundled with Garten’s). Thanks to Richard Boyer for the tip about the Spark interview.
I have mentioned brain-computer interfaces previously. There’s the Brain-controlled robotic arm means drinking coffee by yourself for the first time in 15 years May 17, 2012 posting and the Advertising for the 21st Century: B-Reel, ‘storytelling’, and mind control Oct. 6, 2011 posting amongst others.