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Thought-Controlled Apps On Android May Not Be Far 72

Posted by timothy
from the add-gps-and-stir dept.
Julie188 writes "A small PC device company wants to bring thought-controlled apps to the Android market. Mind Technologies (once known by the cute name of Jedi Mind) has promised to make it so. Mind Technologies makes PC devices (a game controller and mouse) that work with the strange-but-true Emotiv headset. Emotiv uses brain waves to operate machines. Although it sounds far fetched, electroencephalogram (EEG) controllers do work, but the products on the market so far are not as easy to use, let alone master, as their makers claim."
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Thought-Controlled Apps On Android May Not Be Far

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  • by bobstreo (1320787) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @07:29PM (#34346180)

    than a bluetooth douche tag

    • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @07:49PM (#34346298) Journal

      Would it be?

      I think it'd be great!

      A few times now I'll be standing in line for one thing or another and someone will go "Hello?" so I turn slightly and say "Hi." And then they go "Are you still at work?" and I go "No, this is the bank, I don't work here" and they go "Oh, well, can I hitch a ride?" and then I go, "Well.. I don't really know you, but how far are you heading?" and they go "Great, see you in about 20 minutes" and I look perplexed for a moment, then I realize.

      If everyone who had a bluetooth were able to communicate via their mind to their phone instead of audibly, that would save me a lot of confusion. I welcome it with open arms.

      • by goldaryn (834427) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @09:46PM (#34346850) Homepage

        If everyone who had a bluetooth were able to communicate via their mind to their phone instead of audibly, that would save me a lot of confusion. I welcome it with open arms.

        I realised recently that when I walk down the street and see someone talking to themself I now assume it's a Bluetooth headset. The other day this led to an interesting run-in with a good, old fashioned, crazy person. Sign of the times.

        • by burkmat (1016684)

          Had a similar experience on the bus a few weeks ago, five people sitting in a row talking to themselves. I probably wouldn't even have noticed the crazy one if he hadn't been wearing a cape, a trash bag and flip flops (Swedish winter) - and the lack of a phone upon closer observation.

        • by IrquiM (471313)
          I do the same when the girl next to me in the bar starts talking! That long, blonde, curly hair really hides the BT headset...
    • You have to think in Russian. Do you think you can do that?

  • If it was apple... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Picardo85 (1408929)
    it would be the other way around, apps that control your thoughts...
    • by Nerdfest (867930) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @08:24PM (#34346450)
      Yeah, you laugh, but they can do it without any special hardware. Millions were convinced that copy and paste and multi-tasking were a bad idea.
    • by tehcyder (746570)

      it would be the other way around, apps that control your thoughts...

      I can't believe you missed the chance there for an "In Soviet Russia..." joke.

      • by slick7 (1703596)

        it would be the other way around, apps that control your thoughts...

        I can't believe you missed the chance there for an "In Soviet Russia..." joke.

        You mean like:
        In Soviet Russia, thought controlled apps control your thoughts.

  • by goldaryn (834427) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @07:32PM (#34346206) Homepage
    Obligatory: This isn't the Android you're looking for
  • Would... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Konsalik (1921874) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @07:33PM (#34346214)
    concentrating *really* hard be equal to sudo?
  • by SilverHatHacker (1381259) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @07:36PM (#34346230)
    If I were a pessimist, I would make some comment about how this could enable an app to listen in on your thoughts without your knowing, like a keylogger. Then I would probably add something about combining that with the GPS tracking available in most Android phones and possibly include a reference to the Thought Police.

    As it is, I welcome our new thought-controlled overlords/underlings?
  • What do you think I'm thinking right now?
    • Trick question...

      You AREN'T!

    • by dissy (172727)

      What do you think I'm thinking right now?

      You are greatly concerned that we will not find a place that sells chap pants at this time of night.

    • by Evtim (1022085)

      Obligatory v2:

      Android (paranoid): Think of a number
      User: Five
      Android: Wrong. See...
      User: Ohhh

    • by Threni (635302)

      I'm thinking that there are some words missing from the title. "May not be far...." what?

  • As evidenced by 3D televisions which are hamstrung by the special glasses requirement, any technology that requires the user to wear a special device on his head without a truly convincing benefit will simply die off.

    I have heard of new technologies that can sit in your pocket or attach to a console and read the aura of a person. Since a person's aura is altered by their mental state, this could be a good replacement for the EEG-like devices. And since the aura-readers require direct contact with the person

    • What about the Bluetooth devices sticking out of everyone I know's ear? They sure are not comfy, but they free up hands. Beforehand it was stereo headphones, and yes, people used them (in fact, I wish the idiots with giant boom boxes on their shoulder would get some). I'd happily wear such a device if it were wireless.
    • by wisty (1335733)

      It would be cooler than a Wii though; as a game controller.

      That could be a good place for it to develop.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @07:43PM (#34346264)

    Emotive uses brain waves to operate machines.

    When my computer is screaming, "Porn, porn . . . and more porn!"

    "Oh, it must be a problem with the new mouse, that is about to go meet its maker."

    "Where's my hammer . . . ?"

    • by BryanL (93656)

      "My penis is my hammer"

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      This is actually a pretty interesting point to make.

      Would we gain more control over our own thought patterns having them public for all to see? I'd suspect so.

      Then again, it is pretty hard to stop pure reflexes.

      Captcha: annal :\

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 25, 2010 @07:48PM (#34346294)

    EEG-based brain-computer interfaces work fine, but there are definite physical limits to what you can do with them.

    You absolutely cannot "read thoughts" with EEG. It is not possible, it will almost certainly never be possible. This is a physical limitation due to being on the outside of the skull. The one and only thing EEG picks up is the amount of electrical activity in that general region. Sensitivity and signal-to-noise and environmental noise rejection will place further limitations since they will be somewhat lower on even a good consumer unit. Particularly if you don't want to shave your head before use.

    Now, if you realize that, if you respect the limits, you can still do some pretty cool stuff. It's not that hard to make a computer interface based on using an EEG to pick up a P300 response that is absolutely world-changing for people without the physical capacity to use something else. Devices like this have been in research for a bejesus long time now, and the only reason you don't see more use of things like the Emotiv headset for this purpose is that people with that sort of physical limitation generally can't put on the fancy brain-reading hat. (Researchers are currently working on a single-surgery implanted version which will stay in place for decades, so that won't be a problem forever.)

    But is this practical for everyday use? Well, for some things. For a smartphone interface, probably not - particularly for more effective headsets like Emotiv which use saline electrodes. The input afforded by an EEG-based interface is very low for a portable device with a smartphone's use scenarios. However, it could be a good secondary form of control for complex systems (starting with games), particularly if it's relegated to things like biosensing for biosensing's sake or mode switching. You can use it for direct input, and humans will learn VERY fast how to work it...but it's not really physically capable of providing the same level of direct input affordances that other methods could. Expecting it to do so is just not very realistic and shows a lack of understanding of the limitations of the physical processes involved.

    • You think so, do you?

      Wait until you find out what the intelligence community has really been up to. [areyoutargeted.com]

      Hint: those flu shots in Africa aren't for the kids' health [areyoutargeted.com]./p

      • by RMH101 (636144)
        wow, there's some advanced TFH thinking there
        • by tehcyder (746570)

          wow, there's some advanced TFH thinking there

          Just because something sounds like a far-fetched paranoid sci-fi nightmare, goes against all mainstream current scientific knowledge, has no evidence to back it up and is incapable of being disproved, doesn't mean it's wrong.

    • by xybe (525773)
      IANAN (I Am Not A Neurologist) To put it graphically, the notion of reading thoughts from an EEG is comparable to trying to know what people are doing in a city only by looking at how many lights are on at any given time.
  • prior art (Score:2, Funny)

    by mug funky (910186)

    Apple has had mind control for years... just look at their army of fanboys.

  • by t2t10 (1909766) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @09:07PM (#34346660)

    Thought control has been built into iOS for a long time.

    How else would you explain this?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dikaQjMO388 [youtube.com]

  • This is probably good news for people who are paralyzed, since this gives their 'third eye' an ability to use and can render it to be universally acceptable. Although I don't know if it could be what I'm thinking or not.
  • What am I thinking?
    • by Cylix (55374) *

      You are not quite sure if the male enhancement drugs are working. Perhaps, it was also a bad idea to down 5 of them with a fifth of vodka. Really, alcohol enhances the effects of all drugs and you were only shooting for a fighting chance.

  • We were going to order some of these for the development of our recommendation system called "Smart Player" which is a phone app. But, the people at emotiv don't take payment through anything but paypal which is a problem for a University. "Just put the money in an anonymous paypal account".
  • by heironymous (197988) on Thursday November 25, 2010 @10:37PM (#34347038)

    The slashdot summary is incorrect. Emotiv is made by a rival company, not by (formerly) Jedi mind. Also, Emotiv seems to recognize facial expressions, not read brain signals. So, there's some confusion here.

    • by pspahn (1175617)

      Well, I can read people's facial expressions also, does this mean I only need to train myself to be a mind controller?

      Confusion, indeed.

      • by tehcyder (746570)

        Well, I can read people's facial expressions also, does this mean I only need to train myself to be a mind controller?

        Interestingly, this ability seems to be at least part of the secret behind performers like Derren Brown, so the answer is "yes, sort of".

  • ... should of course be Firefox.

  • If you believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.

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