The tablet you can control with your BRAIN: Samsung develops device that will let you check email or listen to music using the power of thought
PUBLISHED: 17:48 EST, 20 April 2013 | UPDATED: 22:21 EST, 20 April 2013
Samsung is exploring ways to bring mind control to its mobile devices in hopes of allowing people with mobility impairments to communicate and function more easily in modern society.
But the ultimate goal of the brain-controlled computer project is to broaden the ways in which all people can interact with devices, researchers in the Samsung’s Emerging Technology Lab told MIT Technology Review.
The Samsung researchers are testing how people can use their thoughts to open an application, communicate a message, select a song from a playlist, or turn on or off a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1.
The researchers are working on the new brain-controlled technology in collaboration with Roozbeh Jafari, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at the University of Texas, Dallas.
The early-stage research, which utilizes a plastic cap covered with EEG-monitoring electrodes and a tablet device, shows how a brain-computer interface could help someone with mobility issues complete tasks that otherwise could not be done.
In using EEG-detected brain signals to control the interface, the researchers monitored typical brain activity patterns that occur when people are shown repetitive visual patterns.
The Samsung and UT Dallas researchers found that people could launch an application and make selections within it by concentrating on an icon that was blinking at a distinctive frequency.
Discovering new ways to interact with mobile devices has been a driving force behind the project, Insoo Kim, Samsung’s lead researcher, told Technology Review.
‘Several years ago, a small keypad was the only input modality to control the phone, but nowadays the user can use voice, touch, gesture, and eye movement to control and interact with mobile devices,’ he said.
‘Adding more input modalities will provide us with more convenient and richer ways of interacting with mobile devices.’
Kim noted that speed with which a user of the EEG-control system can interact with the tablet device depends on that user.
In the research team’s experiments so far, users, on average, have been able to make a selection once every five seconds with an accuracy ranging from 80 to 95 per cent.
The researchers are just getting started and for now Samsung has no immediate plans to sell a brain-controlled phone, Technology Review reports.