Feeds

Microsoft patents brain-computer link

Finding out how much you really like using Office

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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... ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
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.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.