How Mind-Control Will Change Mobile Device Technology

Mobile TechnologySamsung and the University of Texas have formed a partnership to elaborate on the wide range of applications for the brain-computer interface technology, which will offer several new ways to communicate with our mobile devices with mind-control. With the help of electroencephalography and improved signal processing quality, mobile devices will be capable of monitoring brainwaves and it will be easier for users to turn on their smartphones or tablets, open applications, select songs from a chosen playlist, simply by using the power of their brain. We asked our Zintro experts how the new technology will facilitate our interaction with mobile devices.

Technology management consultant, Bill Sequeira believes that the existing brain waves-to-device interfaces are functional even though they require an individual’s full attention, while he controls the device. “Cognitively you have to train yourself to focus in order to control and interact; not exactly easy to multitask when using one of these interfaces. Hence not a question of whether it is possible, but a question of whether this access modality will require users to stop doing everything else in order to carry out a task, such as turning a device on or off,” he explains. “It would be considered a step back in access technology as today we are able to multitask while using our voices or fingers to carry out computing tasks.” As Sequeira also mentions, this new technology gives the biggest value in applications, for situations where both hands are not available or noise prevents adequate voice recognition. “Computing access for handicapped children, surgeons in an operating room, the military and remote device operation are some applications that come to mind where direct brain control is a plus. In my opinion, it would be very difficult for this technology, in its current state, to compete and win in applications where fine motor skills and multitasking is required. While using smart phones and tablets, users switch from simple tasks like turning up the volume to more complicated such as browsing the web for directions, bringing up Google maps, entering addresses, zooming in and getting a phone number, to even more complex such as entering a mathematical search into Wolfram Alpha and sifting through the response,” he adds. “A successful access modality would enable you to perform all three without a problem. It is unclear whether brain wave control would be able to accomplish all three modes without resorting to a hybrid approach, such as using your fingers for map selecting or centering.” Moreover, Sequeira considers it as a burden to wear a cap in order to capture brain waves. “The cap would either become a fashionable object or an ominous deterrent. We know folks tolerate audio headphones, the question is, can the cap be turned into an object of worship before it is resented by large segments of the market,” he notes. “This technology will definitely have a niche application, but would have to go a long way before it can displace established and emerging access technologies.”

By Idil Kan

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