By David Ponce
So the idea here is pretty simple. A group of UK kids claim to have developed a way to give Siri commands by simply… thinking them. Called Project Black Mirror, the way this works is the user hooks himself up with a few EEG pads and proceed to train the custom software. The claim is that by focusing on a particular word, the brain emits a “signature pattern”, which can then be programmed to become associated with that command. Once properly “trained”, these commands are then fed to a SpeakJet speech synthesizer chip and sent to the iPhone via its microphone jack. The video at the end of the article purportedly demonstrates the system in action.
We call BS for a bunch of reasons we’re about to get into. But most of all, this all just reeks of hoax. Hit the jump to hear us out.
Start off by watching the video. It’s ridiculous. What is that Matrix-style video in one of the active windows? Is that meant to make this look more legit?
Also, several commenters all around have pointed out the following:
-The SpeakJet chip is not wired up to anything at all (the way it is positioned on the prototyping board merely shorts out all the pins). -Philip Gallanter
- The narrator in the video refers to the pads as “ECG pads”, as opposed to “EEG pads”. ECG pads records the heart’s electrical activity. While a possible mistake, you’d think someone who’s been working on this for a bit wouldn’t make that kind of mistake.
- “Their EEG can’t really tell the difference between you thinking about a movie you like and a song you like. ‘Mind reading’ will require a much higher resolution scanner, like an fMRI or an embedder array, and a common map and dictionary of what our natural thoughts look like.” -Jonathan Hefter, the CEO of technology company Neverware.
We could go on, but really just watching the video is enough for us. Let us know what you think, but you do have us on record. Time will tell if we were right.