Top CES Innovations: Contactless “EEG” Brain Control
Having started 2017 by attending the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, there are loads of cool innovations that I’ll be writing about over the coming weeks.
There were so many fascinating products and prototypes on display that it was hard to chose which one to feature first. The one that I consider the most mind-blowing was a technology from Freer Logic that literally reads your mind.
The science of thought control is being heavily researched right now for medical and military purposes. In the medical world, EEG skull caps (in conjunction with AI assistants) are being used to help paralyzed or otherwise disabled people power wheelchairs and exoskeletons with just their thoughts. Likewise, military organizations such as DARPA are researching brain implants (brain machine interfaces) that will do much the same thing.
What Freer Logic has come up with is a set of contactless EEG/ECD sensors that can read and monitor brain activities of people without having a device on them. I did several demos of their neuro-bio monitoring technology at CES.
The first was a driving simulation. The sensors were located in a headrest positioned on top of a normal sofa (see photo at right – sensors are located in the black headrest). Without touching the headrest, I was able to control a video game that simulated driving a car. It was testing how driver concentration, distraction, cognitive load, and attention impact your driving skills. As I concentrated on where I wanted to drive, the video simulation acted accordingly, and a green bar indicating my attention level filled up. If my attention wandered, the car stopped and the green bar descended. The second time that I did the demo, I moved about a foot away from the headrest, and it still worked like a charm.
The second demo involved using a BodyWave wrist sensor designed to test attention. This time, the video simulation involved focusing on an animated dolphin swimming in the ocean. With concentration, the dolphin swims along the bottom of the ocean, but as soon as concentration wavers, the dolphin starts to surface. As you can imagine, there were lots of distractions at CES, so getting my dolphin to behave was indeed a challenge (although a fun one!). The photo below shows me wearing the BodyWave wrist sensor.
Freer Logic describes it’s BodyWave unit as having three dry sensors on the back of the unit that contact the skin and begin searching for brainwave activity. The brain wave patterns are then transmitted via Bluetooth or WiFi to a computer or hand held device.
Whilst the BodyWave unit worked well, I much preferred the contactless neuro-bio monitor headrest. Just imagine how cool it would be to control machines, gadgets and other interfaces with just your thoughts!
This technology is well past the prototype stage, as BodyWave is already in use by industry.
About the author: Shara Evans is recognized as one of the world’s top female futurists. She’s a media commentator, strategy adviser, keynote speaker and thought leader, as well as the Founder and CEO of Market Clarity.