A year ago we brought you the story of developing new technologies that utilized brainwaves in order to use electronic devices, control robotic arms, and even allow users to play videogames with thought alone. And now it seems these devices have finally hit the mainstream in the form of a few new devices that allow a user to control their electronics or even games with the power of thought alone.
The new devices, which measure brainwave activity, are being marketed as a new form of mind eye coordination (not to be confused with hand-eye coordination) but some are saying they still have their limits. One of the devices making the rounds and receiving much scrutiny for its claims is a game known as mindflex. The game allegedly teaches children how to focus their concentration to better be able to control a ball which is then being held aloft by a fan which responds to brainwave activity. If the user concentrates, the game responds by raising the ball, but if the user stops concentrating, the ball drops onto the platform or gradually lowers. The goal from that point is to maneuver things through an obstacle course of sorts. Of course the game, if it truly was what it said it was would be a miniature and simplified version of an EEG machine.
But when will the applications go beyond a simple game? When will we see people sitting in front of their laptops typing out complex message using nothing more than their brainwaves? Is it possible that thought itself could be the next input device making the world ever more accessible to those with disabilities and will it be possible to – for example – transmit messages from electronic devices from one person to another without even using a keyboard?
Such a system could arguably be a form of electronically assisted telepathy in itself. By having your brainwaves converted into a specific message and then transmitting your thoughts to another person, whole conversations could take place without a single word being spoken or a single message being written down. Patients in infirmaries could communicate with their doctors, and perhaps we could even gain some insight from our dreams to write down messages even while we sleep. Such a process may even allow coma patients, who had been isolated for years in their states to communicate with the outside world.
Of course technology has some ways to go before such a system could be developed efficiently enough to -for example- type out messages on a keyboard. But if the mind did prove to be sufficiently elastic with training we could be looking at a whole new world where the speed of thought is the only limit to how quickly or efficiently communication can take place. But if there’s one thing we can already speculate on, it’s that technologies such as these can sneak up and become mainstream in only a short matter of time.