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Neurosky Mind-Reading Headset

Neurosky Mind-Reading Headset

By Evan Ackerman

We gave NeuroSky’s mind reading hardware a try at GameDev earlier this year, and here at CTIA NeuroSky has their latest OEM product just about ready to go.

The NeuroSky MindSet is a light weight, over-ear headset. It’s got a built-in rechargeable (via USB) lithium battery pack, and is completely wireless, able to stream music from any Bluetooth source. It’s also able to control compatible music players wirelessly, which is kind of neat, as well as acting as a Bluetooth headset with its integrated mini-mic. The exciting part is the little thingy that sits up by your forehead, reading your brain waves with the help of a few other sensors in the ear pieces. The headset is able to monitor your stress levels and attention levels, and uses this data to interact with a few different cell phone games.

That’s not all it can do, though… More after the jump.

Games and stress control programs are kinda neat, for sure, but I wanted to know when this this thing was actually going to be able to let me do something practical. Due to the non-invasiveness of NeuroSky’s sensor system, there’s a limit to the amount of, uh, mental resolution they can achieve. But what the headset CAN do is allow you to control things that blink.

Apparently, your brain reacts in a very particular and distinctive way when it sees something blinking. And the way your brain reacts can be directly correlated with the frequency of the blinks. The NeuroSky rep gave me a markedly specific example of how this might be implemented: say your car is able to project different icons on the windshield… One for the radio, one for the AC, etc.. Each icon blinks on and off at a different rate. If you focus on an icon, your NeuroSky headset will be able to tell, via the frequency of your brain-pings (or whatever it is), which icon you’re looking at, and relay the information via Bluetooth to your car. Neat, huh?

Of course, the lame thing about this is that you have to wear a big headset, as there’s no way (yet) for your car or anything else (besides Betazoids) to read your brainwaves remotely. NeuroSky wasn’t saying exactly where or when we’ll be seeing this hardware, beyond that they’re working with gaming companies (Nintendo for sure), some wireless companies, a PC manufacturer, and an auto company, and some things should start showing up before 2009. As far as cost, they’re working on the hardware for OEMs, but it’s definitely going to be under $100 for the NeuroSky component by the time it hits the consumer market.

[ NeuroSky ]