"Imagine a world where you can interact with a digital device just by thinking about the content you want - that's the world we're building", enthuses This Place CEO Dusan Hamlin.
This might sound like a feature of the distant future or cutting-edge technology straight from a sci-fi film. But this is exactly what 'This Place' has created in its innovative new app called MindRDR (pronounced 'mind-reader'). Combining NeuroSky's Mindwave Mobile - an EEG biosensor that has a contact point with the user's temple and monitors changes in the user's brainwaves - and Google Glass, this app could be the next stage in merging wearable technology with telekinetics.
In their company video (shown above), the London-based developers describe scenarios where a mind-controlled device could be used, for example in taking a photo and sharing with friends via Facebook.
Currently the app as shown is quite limited in its functional capabilities, it can snap a photo and share it to Twitter or Facebook. The EEG sensor detects a rise in your brainwaves through concentration on a white line on a screen, once to take the photo and once again to upload the photo. As such, the simplicity of doing this without the biosensor and Google Glass, rather than the recursive of concentrating on concentrating on a line until an action is completed, does appear to be easier.
The attractiveness of the combination of the EEG biosensor and the smart eyewear when worn does rate fairly low. The two technologies together look awkwardly bulky and cumbersome, rather than the stylish and discreet tech that some may prefer. However, this is only the first generation of such and with further development, this could be become less geeky and sleeker.
The strongest application of the MindRDR in entertainment would be for gaming. Instead of learning a myriad of button combinations, a player could simply think 'jump' or 'fire' and their virtual character would perform the action. Here is where development of such an app would benefit, especially where more complex and split-second decisions are required. However, most people have reported that using the bio-sensor is not as immediately effective than any other method of control and does require time spent to understand how to control it for it to become more effective.
Looking at the output of NeuroSky's other products, there is a focus on visually seeing and learning about EEG brainwave detection. The EEG sensor comes as part of an edutainment package in the Brainwave Starter Kit that includes meditation platforms, games with gaming demos and instructional suites for £79.00 on Amazon.
While the everyday reality of being able to conduct many tasks by simply thinking about it may still be far off, the MindRDR app is certainly a fantastic start in creating thought-activated technology.