Mind Control (Part 1) - What this technology can offer

7/20/2012 5:19:37 PM

Could mind control be the next big thing for technology and apple?

With rumors of the upcoming Apple iTV potentially including wireless gaming, a recent feature story from The Wall Street journal caught my eye and made me ponder where Apple may lead us. The article, titled ‘mind-controlled videogames become reality’, explores a new technology that will allow us to control real-world and digital objects with just our thoughts. For now, it appears to be geared towards gaming and home entertainment.

Description: With rumors of the upcoming Apple iTV potentially including wireless gaming, a recent feature story from The Wall Street journal caught my eye and made me ponder where Apple may lead us.

With rumors of the upcoming Apple iTV potentially including wireless gaming, a recent feature story from The Wall Street journal caught my eye and made me ponder where Apple may lead us.

The technology comes from a company based in San jose, CA called NeuroSky Inc. This company has products already available for sale, including a MindWave headset for education. You can purchase this headset from the company’s website at a price of $99.95.

The headset measures brainwave signals and monitors student’s attention levels when they’re doing math work, for example. A total of 10 apps are included as part of the package. Some offer entertainment while others are designed purely for educational purposes.

Description: The MindWave Mobile

The MindWave Mobile

Another soon to be available product from NeuroSky, which may be more interesting to Apple fans, is called the MindWave Mobile. This is a headset for mobile users and is available from the company’s website for $129.95. it is actually already compatible with iDevices, as well as Android devices. It will probably come pre-packed with its own apps, as well as support separate apps available from the App Store.

This is headset designed for Electroencephalography (EEG) recording. Its purpose includes tasks such as gaming, brain training and education. It is based on a bio-sensor chipset called the TGAM and serves as an introduction to brain-computer interfaces (BCIs).

You can check out a list of supported apps for the headsets from the company website’s ‘Applications’ section. These apps are varied and aimed at different users. One app, called ‘Mind Labirynth,’ is a puzzle game that lets you control a Mayan priest, named Chac, with your brain. It isn’t available for iOS however, but it is for Mac OSX. It is a bit confusing just by reading the descriptions to see which app is compatible with which headset. On the other hand, the iTunes descriptions list compatibility.

Description: The PLX Xwave

The PLX Xwave

For example, an app called W.I.L.D is available on the App Store from the company at a price of $4.99. compatibility listed includes MindWave Mobile and PLX Xwave support. It is also a universal app. W.I.L.D. is designed to train your concentration and relaxation skills, according to the app description. Some examples of the puzzles contained within this app include saving a burning building or feeding a hungry baby alien.

It seems that MindWave Mobile isn’t the only product on the market offering iDevice owners mind control and brain training compatibility with apps. The PLX Xwave headset comes from a company called PLX Devices and more information can be obtained from the company’s website about its products.

The Xwave can be purchased for $89.95 and the product description seems to suggest it has similar potential to that of the MindWave Mobile.

Description: Xwave


‘You will be able to control and float objects in video games by simply thinking about it, or train your mind to focus and relax on command,’ it reads.

The MindWave Mobile headset, however, comes with a feature called ‘MyndPlay’ that should make it really standout. This feature is referred to as an interactive movie experience, and a video is available to let you sample some of the action. It actually promises to allow you to control video playback with thoughts alone, changing the scenes as your mood changes.

According to the product description, it is “similar to Edward Packard’s ‘Choose your own adventure’ game books, MyndPlay allows users to adjust various scenes and outcomes within the movie, simply by focusing or relaxing when required.”

The  WSJ report pointed out that NeuroSky has also about 1,700 software developers working with these headsets and most are working on apps for the MindWave Mobile headset. This impressive number belies the strong support the industry is showing for this company and its technology.

What this technology can offer

Imagine being able to read iBooks with just the thought of your mind. Imagine being able to combine talking to your iDevice using Siri with being able to hear Siri talk back to you telepathically. Siri, by itself, has been quite revolutionary and has changed the user experience as well as the expectations of consumers of electronics. However, it still doesn’t address everything of every user.

Description: Apple – Siri

Apple – Siri

There are people that are blind of deaf that can’t get the full benefit of Siri or be able to use Siri at all. There are people who cannot even use an iDevice at all. In the future, they all may be able to use these devices in one capacity or another with the help of aides and technologies relying on brain power alone, such as is the case with NeuroSky’s advancements.

‘The gadgets translate brain waves into digital information and beam it wirelessly to computers or other devices,’ the WSJ reported. ‘So far the headsets are confined to mostly digital interfaces – videogames and movies whose plots can be altered with the mind – although in some cases real-world objects have been used, like a pair of catlike ears that move depending on a person’s mood.’

The report did indicate the technology is still in ‘its infancy’ though. This suggests the it will probably be a while before Apple can even begin to implement it into the iTV, which hasn’t even launched yet.

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