By macleans.ca - Wednesday, December 19, 2012 - 0 Comments
How a Canadian start-up plans to make thought-controlled smartphones the next consumer craze
Having trouble focusing on that 30-page contract? Just got chewed out by your boss and wish you had reacted more calmly? Trying to stay relaxed before a life-or-death job interview? Not only will there soon be an app for all that, but it’ll be one that you control with your mind.
This spring, the Toronto-based tech company InteraXon will release a product called Muse, a wearable brainwave reader that connects wirelessly to any smartphone or tablet device. Much like a heart monitor can measure physical exertion, Muse gauges levels of concentration, stress and relaxation. Through an app and various games that come bundled with the device, users will be able to strengthen those parts of their brains responsible for working memory and focus.
Using software originally created by the renowned University of Toronto engineer and cyberneticist Steve Mann (often dubbed “the world’s first cyborg”), thought-controlled computing technology translates brainwaves into digital signals recognizable by a computer—be it the chip in a video game, espresso maker or automobile. In other words, the brain’s electrical activity, which can be trained just like any muscle, is converted by an interface into binary code.