Tan Le at TED: Mind Control

7 08 2010

http://www.ted.com/talks/tan_le_a_headset_that_reads_your_brainwaves.html

(If anyone can tell me how to embed the video directly, I’d appreciate it, can’t seem to make it work!)

I love this Tan Le TED talk for a few reasons.

Firstly, it’s another example (like quantitative market research) of an application of EEG technology for which the existing medical EEG technology, with it’s hundreds of sensors and wires, conductive gels, slcalp abrasions and requirement for technical expertise is really not practical and scalable. Le and her team were smart enough to recognise that and engineer a technical solution specific to their requirements rather than attempt to engineer their requirements to suit the existing technology. Millward Brown’s EEG partners EmSense did the same thing for research.

Secondly, this looks to me like it has the potential to be genuinely disruptive. These technologies are moving so fast that in a couple of years the things it will be possible to control just by thinking of them are likely to be myriad. Could this effectively lead to the death of the mediated UI? What would this mean for the likes of Apple who have built a significant part of their brand advantage on the back of having a slicker UI than everyone else?

Finally, it’s just cool isn’t it? Closing your curtains just by thinking about it? There’s nothing I hate more than having done all the thinking you need to do about a presentation and then having to actually spend hours making all the bloody charts – if all I had to do is think about it and the charts were made exactly how I wanted them that would make me a very happy boy. That might be a way off, but it seems like this is a step in the right direction where that dream is concerned.

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