If there was a device that could make the kids clean up their messy rooms by thought alone, it would be bought in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, we're not at the point in technical achievement. However, there seems to be promise in recent thought-controlled computing development, and we'll see a sample of that technology next week at the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Start-up developer InteraXon has installed the world's largest thought-controlled computing system at Toronto's CN Tower, Ottawa's Parliament Buildings, and Niagara Falls. Although visitors won't be able to order food or do useful things by mere thought, they will be able to control various aspects of light displays. While that doesn't exactly sound thrilling, InteraXon says that its technology will eventually let you control almost anything using only your mind.
The secret to InteraXon's technology is that it converts brainwaves into digital signals that are then translated by a computer. The thoughts aren't actually read—they generate a specific electrical pattern that the computer will recognize. The company said that, with practice, you can learn to manipulate your brainwave pattern, like flexing a muscle you’ve never used before. Does that mean the system will know that we want a meat sandwich? We'll have to wait and see.
According to this blog, everything has been installed and the system is ready for its first demonstration. However, as a startup company, InteraXion seems somewhat nervous and a little weary. "One thing about running a start-up, there is no lack of things to keep you busy. It’s kind of like doing sound, tending bar and playing in the band all at once in a club that never closes."
The live simulcast of the world's largest thought-controlled computer system will begin on February 12, and will end on February 28. Let's hope Dr. Evil doesn't take over the system and control the entire world.