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Input Devices Biotech Medicine Science Technology

The Computer That Can Read Your Mind 145

Posted by timothy
from the what-am-I-thinking-and-where-does-she-live dept.
magacious writes "Gtec has showcased a computer that can read your mind over at the CeBIT trade show in Germany. Designed primarily to help those who can't write or speak, the system makes use of a skull cap and wireless technology to transform brain waves into letters. It's the first patient-ready computer-brain interface, according to its Austrian makers. It takes around 30 seconds per letter for the computer to recognise what you're saying the first time you use it, according to Gtec, but this improves vastly with practice. '"One second per letter is very tough," Gtec's Engelbert Grunbacher said, adding users can usually easily get to five or 10 letters per minute. "You learn to be relaxed, focused. You improve."' It might look quite wacky (pictures here) and at €9,000 the system is not cheap, but it could help enhance the lives of many people who have a great deal to say but no real way of saying it."
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The Computer That Can Read Your Mind

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  • by r0k3t (1142151) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @03:14PM (#31349712)
    I am sure he will be one of the first to use it.
  • by parallel_prankster (1455313) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @03:14PM (#31349718)
    So now if people are thinking about their passwords while typing it in, it could be picked up by this ?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @03:18PM (#31349782)

    But can it run Linux?

  • Re:Mind reading (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HungryHobo (1314109) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @03:22PM (#31349848)

    I'm more worried that once we get that kind of tech there will be no legal safeguards to protect people from being read against their will.

    "the defendant clearly dreamed about stabbing the victim while in police custody"

    Or even worse: you make a recording of your dreams and they break laws like possession of obscene material-
    I can imagine someone being prosecuted for possession obscene material in the form of recordings of thier own memories or dreams.

    Or to go even creepier:
    If the brain starts being considered just another data storage device might they start issuing warrants for information stored on it?
    Could your memories of your girlfriend when you were in highschool get you charged for possessing "child porn" on the storage medium that is your brain?

    There's a lot of horribly possibilities and I'd like to see legal safeguards being put in place long before we start to really really need them.

    Police won't be so bothered if we forbid them to read peoples minds against their will now than 50 years down the line when it's helping their conviction rate.

  • by furby076 (1461805) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @03:27PM (#31349934) Homepage
    The problem is that men won't be able to use falling asleep after sex as an excuse for not talking to their girlfriends.
  • So Many Applications (Score:1, Interesting)

    by BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @03:31PM (#31349972) Homepage Journal
    I have a friend who has ALS (same disease as Hawking) and we haven't gotten a proper message from him in more than 2 years. I can't imagine how lonely that is. These types of systems really pay off in the quality of life they can create for disabled patients and such. Color me excited.

    I do, however, hope the price drops significantly.
  • Re:Mind reading (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EndlessNameless (673105) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @03:43PM (#31350144)

    There's a lot of horribly possibilities and I'd like to see legal safeguards being put in place long before we start to really really need them.

    Police won't be so bothered if we forbid them to read peoples minds against their will now than 50 years down the line when it's helping their conviction rate.

    There is probably no law required for this. You have a constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination. Actually, it is quite likely a law which requires or permits such mind-reading would be deemed unconstitutional.

  • by BigSlowTarget (325940) on Wednesday March 03, 2010 @04:02PM (#31350354) Journal

    Is this thing really trying to recognize and distinguish twenty or thirty different brain patterns each associated with a particular letter, number or mark? It seems setting it up to read morse code or some other binary coded system would make it faster and easier on the user. You could even put the letters and codes up on the screen. Too bad the article doesn't have more info.

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