Future Technology: Brainwave mapping

by Eli
on 27 March 2013
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In the last 5 years, there have been leaps and bounds in bio-tech sensory innovations.

The notables have been the bionic eye, and mechanical arms for amputees that actually relay input sensor information, giving the amputee the ability to feel with their bionic fingers again.

But the real eye opener - is accessing the brain directly. There is a real window of opportunity for a big market in brainwave technology. Recent experiments and research have demonstrated, that we can hook-up the brain and use pure brain power to operate robotic arms or devices. Sounds like something out of science fiction doesn’t it?

The truth is, the science to it is blindingly simple.

Several years ago, a researcher conducted an experiment, whereby, a test subject was made to look at various pictures. For example, ‘a dog’, ‘a house’, ‘red circle’ and so on. While the subject looked at these pictures, an instrument recorded the subject’s brainwaves. Next, the subject was simply asked to think about these same items. By analyzing the resulting brainwaves, a simple cross-referencing algorithm was able to identify which object the subject was thinking of.

The exact same science was used when recently, an amputee, was asked to think about moving their arms up, then outwards, and so on. The recorded brainwaves were then used to identify what the patient wanted to do, when a robotic arm was attached instead. As expected, the robotic arm responded to the thoughts of the patient.

The science has already hit commercial grounds. Simply google “brainwave sensory ears” and you’ll see a new toy-tech sensation, in the form of cat ears that you can wear, and that respond to your own brainwaves. For example, happy thoughts will make the cat ears dance around, while sad thoughts might make them fold downwards.

 

This is quite an interesting gimmick. I call it a gimmick because when we compare it with what is to come, this truly is a prototype for a new industry. As brainwave mapping becomes more accurate and more inclusive, it is only a matter of time before mobile devices, such as your smart-phone starts to employ this technology.

It’s the perfect device - you hold it right up to your head when speaking, and with voice activation and thought control, you can do things like, call a friend by thinking of their name, or perhaps even send an SMS by mentally reciting the message. I should mention, that routing calls using brain waves has already been done as a proof of concept, by a developer, who spent a mere 30 hours on it. See the technology is there, it just needs to be assembled.

This may seem like exciting times, but it brings with it a rather bleak privacy stricken future. It is my opinion, that; in a capitalist world, the technology will move from brain-mapping to brain-recording. And from brain-recording to brain-transmitting. What I mean by that is that our thoughts - at least on a superficial level - say mood related, will be recorded and tracked by various providers of such services.

Why? - well it’s obvious. Feeling hungry? sure, let’s ensure you get McDonalds ads popping up on your handset. Or feeling lonely? Perfect, we have the matchmaker website for you!! - Ah ok, you see where i’m going with this. But target driven ads are the tip of the ice-berg. What is recorded could potentially be used against you as well. We already know that companies such as google and microsoft like to track our whereabouts on a daily basis, but, track and record your thoughts? Now that’s invasion of privacy on  the most intimate of levels.