Feeds

Canadian boffins develop mindreader headband

'We can prove we think it works'

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Canadian boffins say they have developed a headset which can read the wearer's mind by shining infrared light into the brain.

"Preference is the basis for everyday decisions," says Sheena Luu of the University of Toronto. "This is the first system that decodes preference naturally from spontaneous thoughts. If we limit the context - limit the question and available answers, as we have with predicting preference - then mind-reading becomes possible."

The Toronto bioengineering researchers say that their brainprobe hat system is the first which requires no training for the user. Rather, the system learns how to interpret an individual's brain activity.

In trials, a group of adults were fitted with headbands which shone infrared light into their pre-frontal cortexes and measured how much of it was absorbed.

"When your brain is active, the oxygen in your blood increases and depending on the concentration, it absorbs more or less light," Luu said. "In some people, their brains are more active when they don't like something, and in some people they're more active when they do like something."

After a few dummy runs to learn how each individual's brain responded to a given situation, according to Luu & Co, the machine was able to tell whether a user liked or didn't like a drink presented to them with 80 per cent accuracy.

Such systems have already been tried out, according to Toronto Uni, but they normally require a user to perform a specific mental activity - for instance singing a song in their head - to establish a pattern of brain activity that machines can recognise. The Canadian boffins believe that theirs is the first system which can perceive basic, untrained responses.

Luu and her colleagues believe that this means the system would be particularly suitable for disabled children. Lacking any conventional means of communication to start with, it is hard to train such users to work with a normal brain interface.

Working with the Bloorview children's rehabilitation hospital, Canada's largest, the Toronto bioengineers hope to create a small wireless infrared brain-sensor "that rests on the forehead".

They intend to use the new forehead mindprobe to "open up the world of choice to children who can't speak or move".

There would also be obvious applications in other fields: for instance the control of powerful steampunk cybernetic limbs, or even the warcrime loophole brain-controlled weaponry of tomorrow.

Luu and her colleagues publish their research in the Journal of Neural Engineering, here. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
Ex-Soviet engines fingered after Antares ROCKET launch BLAST
Speculation rife, but Orbital claims it's too early to tell
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
NASA: Spacecraft crash site FOUND ON MOON RIM
'What fun!' exlaims NASA boffin who found the LADEE
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
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.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.