I’m sure you’ve heard of “touch typing” but have you ever heard of “thought typing”? Imagine being able to control the computer simply by thinking it. The technology has been developed, and the latest demonstration took place at CeBit in Hanover, Germany this week:
The Berlin Brain-Computer Interface (BBCI) – dubbed the “mental typewriter” – was created by researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute in Berlin and Charité, the medical school of Berlin Humboldt University in Germany.
The machine makes it possible to type messages onto a computer screen by mentally controlling the movement of a cursor. A user must wear a cap containing electrodes that measure electrical activity inside the brain, known as an electroencephalogram (EEG) signal, and imagine moving their left or right arm in order to manoeuvre the cursor around.
Apparently it only takes about 20 minutes to “train” the device. Obviously, there are many huge benefits to technology like this, benefits that go well beyond typing without having to touch the keyboard. Medical uses are the most obvious and will likely be the first applications of such technology. Longer term though, this could lead to new interfaces for games, automobiles, just about anything that can be hooked up to a computer (and really, that’s almost everything these days).
I’d love to try something like this out. The great thing about it is that it’s non-invasive. I bet the experience is still pretty crazy though!
Read: New Scientist