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Startup spotlight Korea: Soso, the mind-reading headset

ITProPortal is on the ground at the Global Mobile Vision conference in Seoul, South Korea, bringing you all the latest on startups, accelerators and all the hottest business solutions from Northeast Asia. In the startup spotlight series, we give you an overview on some of Korea's biggest success stories, as well as some tips for investors on which Korean companies have bright futures ahead of them.

In this article, we profile mind-reading games interface company Soso, and their "Brainno" thought-reading device. We ask them why brain-controlled devices could be the future.

Soso have been working on brain computer interface (BCI) devices since 2008, and have recently developed a low-cost device that measures two kinds of brainwaves, so-called alpha waves and SMR waves, simply by sitting on a user's forehead.

The device measures brainwaves associated with concentration and relaxation, allowing the team to develop a series of games that either require you to concentrate or relax, depending on the task. For instance, I was able to make a cartoonish meditating guru levitate just by focusing my thoughts on him. The effect is quite eerie.

The program has already been trialled in schools, designed to help children focus on tasks and exercise the part of the brain involved in concentration. It has also been trialled to help patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease and ADHD.

Related: Global Mobile Vision 2014: What to expect (opens in new tab)

The device can also give detailed readouts on a person's brain functions, allowing you to analyse which parts of your thought process needs work.

"It's a new way of interfacing with computers," a spokesperson told me. When asked if one day users might be able to give specific instructions to the computer using only their thoughts, she said, "maybe - but it's not there yet. "

"I'm terrible at the game," she added. "I'm the worst at concentration."

Stay tuned for more from GMV 2014 at ITProPortal

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Paul has worked as an archivist, editor and journalist, and has a PhD in the cultural and literary significance of ruins. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, The BBC, The Atlantic, National Geographic, and Discover Magazine, and he was previously Staff Writer and Journalist at ITProPortal.