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Open Source Headset Enables New Mind-Controlled Devices (popsci.com) 42

An anonymous reader writes: "When DARPA funded research into a brain-computer interface, artist and engineer Joel Murphy and his former student Conor Russomanno built a working prototype," reports Popular Science. After a crowdfunding campaign, the team successfully developed an Open Source version -- a $399 headset that can register brain-wave electricity (named Ultracortex), along with a $99 board named Ganglion that can use those signals to control mechanical devices. "We want it to essentially be a Lego kit that you get in the mail, which also just happens to be a brain-computer interface," says Russomanno.
Their web site is already accepting pre-orders, though because both the hardware and software are open source, you can also generate your own headset with a 3D printer. And according to the article, two British students are now using the technology to create an app that issues commands to a smartphone by winking.
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Open Source Headset Enables New Mind-Controlled Devices

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    • by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Sunday April 17, 2016 @10:26AM (#51926535)

      Been done, open source software and hardware plans available, also available ready to play for $399?

      The significance here isn't a high CMRR amplifier, it's a complete brain-computer interface component that's ready to be used as a standard HID like your keyboard or mouse. Well, I don't see the USB port, but some boffin needs to put one on there and re-release the upgraded device. And, that's the point, it's a significant chunk of tech already worked out in a standard, readily available format that a community can form around and extend and improve - like Raspberry Pi or Arduino (that happens to be at the core of this), sure the tech has been available forever, but not in a "community oriented" "developer friendly" package.

       

      • by Anonymous Coward

        AFAIK these packages tend not to work without many extremely sensitive pickups all over the scalp. Even still from what I understand there is so much interference from facial neurons, etc, that getting a usable signal requires extensive training of both the driver and of the user.

        These are all, of course, issues that will go away with maturity, just like they have been going away with speech recognition, head tracking, gaze following, etc. technologies.

        They are NOT issues that will go away overnight becaus

  • Brain-computer interface, or organic computer-mechanical computer interface sounds like a really amazing scientific advance we could all get behind.

    Controlling mechanics with your thoughts is the next logical step now that voice-control has been realized.

    Until the mind-controlled devices begin to learn your preferences and offer to make decisions for your convenience.

    • Brain-computer interface, or organic computer-mechanical computer interface sounds like a really amazing scientific advance we could all get behind.

      Controlling mechanics with your thoughts is the next logical step now that voice-control has been realized.

      Until the mind-controlled devices begin to learn your preferences and offer to make decisions for your convenience.

      I wonder how this mind based control would deal with OCD people with racing thoughts? A lot of background noise going on in a person with that affliction.

    • I can't wait to integrate one of these into a lawn mower so I can sit on the porch sipping on some Wild Turkey over ice and mow my yard.

      • Sadly, the system would be disallowed as long as the answer to the age-old question is >0:

        If you could kill people with your mind, would you do it?

      • You can do that now with robotic mowers. The hard part is they don't do a good job.

        Personally I can't wait until I think porn and up pops
          the browser search.

    • Until the (...) devices begin to learn your preferences and offer to make decisions for your convenience.

      http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0389860/

    • by JoeMerchant ( 803320 ) on Sunday April 17, 2016 @10:43AM (#51926605)

      It always sounds great, until you get to the reality where eye-blink signals are 1000x more powerful and much easier to use for control than any "thought based" signals.

      Build your best brain controlled interface, put it on, then realize that you're doing input with your eyelid and forehead muscles more than your thoughts.

  • Devices controlled minds.
  • You can already command your computer or smart phone by voice without a dorky $400 headset and $100 board. And by touch. And if there was a real need for an app that would do stuff when you wink at it, it would already be out there. Oh wait - it's already possible for handicapped people to control their computers by sight.
    • Why would anyone need more than 640K of RAM on a computer?
      Why would anyone need a color monitor?
      Why would anyone want to connect PCs using a LAN?
      Why would anyone want to connect to "The Internet"?
      Why would anyone want to use a mouse instead of a keyboard?

      I've heard all of these questions asked, in all seriousness, by people in the computer industry.

      Who knows why! But I'll bet somebody will come along and do something really cool with this brain-control interface.

      • Why does anyone need a round mouse?
        Why does anyone need a 3D TV?
        Why does anyone need a Sega Dreamcast?
        Why does anyone need a Segway?
        Why does anyone need a BetaMax?
        Why does anyone need Vista?
        Why does anyone need Wndows 10?
        Why does anyone need cold fusion?
        Why does anyone need Microsoft Bob?
        Why does anyone need a Zune?
        Why does anyone need Lenovo's Silverfish adware?
        Why does anyone need Carly Fiorina?
        Why does anyone need Ted Cruz?
        Why does anyone need a Blackberry Playbook?
        Why does anyone need DAT
  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Sunday April 17, 2016 @11:31AM (#51926779)
    ... for it to work, you must think in Russian. [wikipedia.org].
  • The brain produces millivolt signals.

    Now try to detect them through a layer of bone, which is a pretty good insulator, and skin. What you get correlates roughly, but you can't localise the source of a signal. It's very hard just to get out enough to control a mouse cursor. Slowly and awkwardly. With enough practice you'll be typing at minutes per word.

    • Now try to detect them through a layer of bone, which is a pretty good insulator, and skin.

      Not a problem. The kit includes a drill and a manual for surgical insertion of electrodes in the brain.

  • open-source device mind-controls you!

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