The phrase mind control tends to conjure scenes of brainwashing and coercion from movies, the likes of Manchurian Candidate and Clockwork Orange but we are not talking about the dysfunctional tools of fictional dystopiasis. Simple affordable headsets from the likes of NeuroSky can read brain waves and a generation of developers are creating everything from mind-controlled video games to interactive movies. Mind control is here, and it’s about to revolutionise your tech world. But how does it work, and is it any good? Let us visit two mind control labs and find out.
Non invasive headsets such as NeuroSky’s MindWave work by detecting brain waves. Each of the 70,000 thoughts you have every day creates a tiny electrical discharge. While it remains impossible to measure these individually from outside the skull, patterns of collective neuron activity (created by thousands of simultaneous discharges) can be interpreted to determine your emotional state.
Sensing: Your brain’s neurons emit tiny electrical signals during thought. These are detected by the headset’s main sensor, which sits on your prefrontal cortex where most ‘higher’ thinking takes place.
Filtering: A second sensor clips onto your ear. This detects electrical signals generated by muscle movement so the ones created by brain waves can be isolated.
Interpretation: The brain’s electrical signals are correlated with data algorithms. NeuroSky’s headset does this on-board, enabling it to almost instantaneously identify the subject’s emotional state.
Commands: Emotional states are translated into raw data signals, which are shared with the attached computer/device to allow software applications to react in real time.
Touch screens are so 2010. Strap on a headset and take a journey with us into the world of mind control.