Feeds

Microsoft patents brain-computer link

Finding out how much you really like using Office

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Microsoft has sent in a patent application where no patent application has gone before. It wants to own the rights to read your mind.

More specifically, the firm says it wants to understand human computer interaction better, and has opted to read our minds. The psychic approach is the best option, the firm says, because questions asked while someone is using a computer will invariably produce the result that people find surveys very distracting, and asking later doesn't get the goods.

In fact, asking people what they think of a machine and the way it works is absolutely useless as a technique because "humans are often poor reporters of their own actions", says Microsoft. That is to say, we mis-remember, and make stuff up.

The mind reading stuff is tricky, though. Although it is simplicity itself to monitor brain activity ("Would Sir care to don this striking electrode hat?"), making sense of the data is tougher. For a start, although all your thoughts are being transcribed, so is all the extraneous stuff, like blinking, remembering not to fart in the office, fidgeting in your chair, and so on.

What Microsoft wants to do is filter the noise and study the cognitive signals. And this is what it has applied for a patent to do.

The firm says its method will make it easier to characterise brain activity, and will not require users to sit very still, close one eye, or be shielded from EM fields, for example. The technique is also much cheaper than traditional methods and can be carried out with off-the-shelf components.

If this sort of thing continues, we'll all be sending the Beast of Redmond a monthly cheque for the privilege of using our own brains. Obviously, some people's cheques will be smaller than others, and some folk may get away with paying nothing at all... ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
First in line to order a Nexus 6? AT&T has a BRICK for you
Black Screen of Death plagues early Google-mobe batch
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.