Sunday, June 24, 2007

"Thinking Cap" Device Controls Gadgets with Brain Activity

You've seen something like this before in many cartoons where the user puts on some gadget over his head then controls things in the environment. That is fiction. This is not. Hitachi Inc. brings to you the "brain-machine interface" which lets users control electronic objects like a train set by using thoughts and the blood flow to certain regions of the brain. The invention basically analyzes changes in the brains blood flow and translates them into electrical signals that can be used as switches to make gadgets go. In demonstrations, the cap used optical fibers that were connect ed to a mapping device which linked with a train set through a computer and motor. Researcher Kei Utsugi allowed a reporter to put it on and do calculations in his head. The train moved. When the reporter stopped calculating, the train stopped. Pictured above is researcher Akiko Obata. The device is kind of cool if you consider what it can do, but nobody might buy it as a television remote control.

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