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Thought-Controlled Apps On Android May Not Be Far

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the add-gps-and-stir dept.

Cellphones 72

Julie188 writes "A small PC device company wants to bring thought-controlled apps to the Android market. Mind Technologies (once known by the cute name of Jedi Mind) has promised to make it so. Mind Technologies makes PC devices (a game controller and mouse) that work with the strange-but-true Emotiv headset. Emotiv uses brain waves to operate machines. Although it sounds far fetched, electroencephalogram (EEG) controllers do work, but the products on the market so far are not as easy to use, let alone master, as their makers claim."

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72 comments

Wow, that's even worse (3, Funny)

bobstreo (1320787) | more than 2 years ago | (#34346180)

than a bluetooth douche tag

Re:Wow, that's even worse (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34346240)

A new Slashdot survey is called for. How often do you masturbate:

A) Once a week B) Three times a week C) Once a day D) Twice a day E) More than twice a day

Re:Wow, that's even worse (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#34346322)

Go back when you have a survey that covers all the options, including CowboyNeal.

Re:Wow, that's even worse (4, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 2 years ago | (#34346298)

Would it be?

I think it'd be great!

A few times now I'll be standing in line for one thing or another and someone will go "Hello?" so I turn slightly and say "Hi." And then they go "Are you still at work?" and I go "No, this is the bank, I don't work here" and they go "Oh, well, can I hitch a ride?" and then I go, "Well.. I don't really know you, but how far are you heading?" and they go "Great, see you in about 20 minutes" and I look perplexed for a moment, then I realize.

If everyone who had a bluetooth were able to communicate via their mind to their phone instead of audibly, that would save me a lot of confusion. I welcome it with open arms.

Re:Wow, that's even worse (5, Funny)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 3 years ago | (#34346850)

If everyone who had a bluetooth were able to communicate via their mind to their phone instead of audibly, that would save me a lot of confusion. I welcome it with open arms.

I realised recently that when I walk down the street and see someone talking to themself I now assume it's a Bluetooth headset. The other day this led to an interesting run-in with a good, old fashioned, crazy person. Sign of the times.

Re:Wow, that's even worse (1)

burkmat (1016684) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349926)

Had a similar experience on the bus a few weeks ago, five people sitting in a row talking to themselves. I probably wouldn't even have noticed the crazy one if he hadn't been wearing a cape, a trash bag and flip flops (Swedish winter) - and the lack of a phone upon closer observation.

Re:Wow, that's even worse (1)

IrquiM (471313) | more than 3 years ago | (#34351856)

I do the same when the girl next to me in the bar starts talking! That long, blonde, curly hair really hides the BT headset...

The real problem with it... (1)

DarthBart (640519) | more than 3 years ago | (#34347308)

You have to think in Russian. Do you think you can do that?

Re:The real problem with it... (1)

wisdom_brewing (557753) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349424)

Da

Re:The real problem with it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34349498)

Don't worry, I get your Firefox joke.

Re:The real problem with it... (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349868)

You should have clarified that this is Firefox the movie, rather than Firefox the popular intarwebz browser.

Re:The real problem with it... (1)

JCCyC (179760) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350004)

I just had this mental image of Clint Eastwood browsing at his smartphone with a Russian edition of Firefox.

If that becomes an ad, I'll want royalties.

Re:The real problem with it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34349922)

How does this work in the Soviet Union?

Re:The real problem with it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34351154)

How does this work in the Soviet Union?

Pretty well, if you remember the Russian for "fire rearward missile".

In Palin's Alaska, Firefox controls your brain.

Thought controlled first post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34346184)

Yes!!! !@$@#%^$%&%#&*%@#%%% (random thoughts...)

If it was apple... (2, Insightful)

Picardo85 (1408929) | more than 2 years ago | (#34346198)

it would be the other way around, apps that control your thoughts...

Re:If it was apple... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34346424)

Quiet. You're not supposed to know that until you reach OT VIII.

Re:If it was apple... (4, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#34346450)

Yeah, you laugh, but they can do it without any special hardware. Millions were convinced that copy and paste and multi-tasking were a bad idea.

Re:If it was apple... (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349906)

it would be the other way around, apps that control your thoughts...

I can't believe you missed the chance there for an "In Soviet Russia..." joke.

Re:If it was apple... (1)

slick7 (1703596) | more than 3 years ago | (#34353210)

it would be the other way around, apps that control your thoughts...

I can't believe you missed the chance there for an "In Soviet Russia..." joke.

You mean like:
In Soviet Russia, thought controlled apps control your thoughts.

Thought control on an Android (4, Funny)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 2 years ago | (#34346206)

Obligatory: This isn't the Android you're looking for

Would... (5, Funny)

Konsalik (1921874) | more than 2 years ago | (#34346214)

concentrating *really* hard be equal to sudo?

Re:Would... (2, Funny)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348608)

No, but it might lead to accidental core dump.

Oblig anti-tech wacko comment (2, Interesting)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | more than 2 years ago | (#34346230)

If I were a pessimist, I would make some comment about how this could enable an app to listen in on your thoughts without your knowing, like a keylogger. Then I would probably add something about combining that with the GPS tracking available in most Android phones and possibly include a reference to the Thought Police.

As it is, I welcome our new thought-controlled overlords/underlings?

Re:Oblig anti-tech wacko comment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34355430)

Surely you must mean "If I were a realist..."? You're not seriously suggesting it won't happen are you? Here? On Slashdot of all places?

Not only will your masters listen in to your every thought and emotion, collect it all in databases "to protect you" and datamine it for patterns of subterfuge, dissent, and the daily terrorist acts, they will also preemptively attempt to ghosthack and brainwash you through the same interfaces (it's cumbersome right now but still they can already plant voices directly inside your head, you know that right?) when you just want to play a few minutes of Bejeweled Extreme Edition 2020 (yes 9-10 years into the future should be plenty) on your retinal implants while waiting in line for your daily Nutrition++(TM) shot in the neck.

I for one hope people are preparing violent resistance for what looks to be a dismal future (non-techs are already mostly zombies).

Re:Oblig anti-tech wacko comment (1)

SilverHatHacker (1381259) | more than 3 years ago | (#34355572)

The difference between being a realist and a pessimist becomes less every day.

Hm. (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 2 years ago | (#34346238)

What do you think I'm thinking right now?

Re:Hm. (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 2 years ago | (#34346312)

Trick question...

You AREN'T!

Re:Hm. (1)

dissy (172727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34346474)

What do you think I'm thinking right now?

You are greatly concerned that we will not find a place that sells chap pants at this time of night.

Re:Hm. (1)

Evtim (1022085) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348232)

Obligatory v2:

Android (paranoid): Think of a number
User: Five
Android: Wrong. See...
User: Ohhh

Re:Hm. (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349222)

I'm thinking that there are some words missing from the title. "May not be far...." what?

These will never catch on (1)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 2 years ago | (#34346248)

As evidenced by 3D televisions which are hamstrung by the special glasses requirement, any technology that requires the user to wear a special device on his head without a truly convincing benefit will simply die off.

I have heard of new technologies that can sit in your pocket or attach to a console and read the aura of a person. Since a person's aura is altered by their mental state, this could be a good replacement for the EEG-like devices. And since the aura-readers require direct contact with the person's hand or extremely close proximity like the person's breast pocket, it doesn't have the problem of picking up auras of people nearby by accident.

I'm not sure why this would be relegated to Android, though. These devices can be installed in any device that supported the necessary port (USB, BT, etc).

Re:These will never catch on (1)

teachknowlegy (1003477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34346724)

What about the Bluetooth devices sticking out of everyone I know's ear? They sure are not comfy, but they free up hands. Beforehand it was stereo headphones, and yes, people used them (in fact, I wish the idiots with giant boom boxes on their shoulder would get some). I'd happily wear such a device if it were wireless.

Re:These will never catch on (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#34346860)

When they open their mouth, you can hear the music.

Re:These will never catch on (1)

wisty (1335733) | more than 3 years ago | (#34349096)

It would be cooler than a Wii though; as a game controller.

That could be a good place for it to develop.

Uh, yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34346258)

EEG and EMG controllers have been around (affordably) for a few years; less affordably, they've been around since the 90s, haven't they? It's always been more difficult to control something through one of these devices than to do it though normal muscle action; they require way more concentration to get your brain waves / neural impulses exactly into the range the device expects.

Now how do I explain that to the women folk? (2, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#34346264)

Emotive uses brain waves to operate machines.

When my computer is screaming, "Porn, porn . . . and more porn!"

"Oh, it must be a problem with the new mouse, that is about to go meet its maker."

"Where's my hammer . . . ?"

Re:Now how do I explain that to the women folk? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34346806)

Will this work with the boner app?

It's time to chew ass and step in bubble-gum. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34347048)

So another session of driving down the road avoiding collisions and missing waypoints, Android will
make automatic phone calls while surfing on my behath...

Shit!
>>Android: Tubgirl

Merry Christmas you mo.fo.
>>Android: Goatse

God-damnit!
>>Android: Synagogue of Satan

Re:Now how do I explain that to the women folk? (1)

BryanL (93656) | more than 3 years ago | (#34347300)

"My penis is my hammer"

Re:Now how do I explain that to the women folk? (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348886)

Like a ban hammer? As in it stops them coming back?

Re:Now how do I explain that to the women folk? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34347410)

This is actually a pretty interesting point to make.

Would we gain more control over our own thought patterns having them public for all to see? I'd suspect so.

Then again, it is pretty hard to stop pure reflexes.

Captcha: annal :\

Re:Now how do I explain that to the women folk? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348980)

Captcha: annal :\

Well, time to read some chronicles, then. :)

EEG is limited, but people forget that (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34346294)

EEG-based brain-computer interfaces work fine, but there are definite physical limits to what you can do with them.

You absolutely cannot "read thoughts" with EEG. It is not possible, it will almost certainly never be possible. This is a physical limitation due to being on the outside of the skull. The one and only thing EEG picks up is the amount of electrical activity in that general region. Sensitivity and signal-to-noise and environmental noise rejection will place further limitations since they will be somewhat lower on even a good consumer unit. Particularly if you don't want to shave your head before use.

Now, if you realize that, if you respect the limits, you can still do some pretty cool stuff. It's not that hard to make a computer interface based on using an EEG to pick up a P300 response that is absolutely world-changing for people without the physical capacity to use something else. Devices like this have been in research for a bejesus long time now, and the only reason you don't see more use of things like the Emotiv headset for this purpose is that people with that sort of physical limitation generally can't put on the fancy brain-reading hat. (Researchers are currently working on a single-surgery implanted version which will stay in place for decades, so that won't be a problem forever.)

But is this practical for everyday use? Well, for some things. For a smartphone interface, probably not - particularly for more effective headsets like Emotiv which use saline electrodes. The input afforded by an EEG-based interface is very low for a portable device with a smartphone's use scenarios. However, it could be a good secondary form of control for complex systems (starting with games), particularly if it's relegated to things like biosensing for biosensing's sake or mode switching. You can use it for direct input, and humans will learn VERY fast how to work it...but it's not really physically capable of providing the same level of direct input affordances that other methods could. Expecting it to do so is just not very realistic and shows a lack of understanding of the limitations of the physical processes involved.

EEG limited? (1)

soonerthanuthink (1947602) | more than 3 years ago | (#34346748)

You think so, do you?

Wait until you find out what the intelligence community has really been up to. [areyoutargeted.com]

Hint: those flu shots in Africa aren't for the kids' health [areyoutargeted.com] ./p

Re:EEG limited? (1)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348286)

wow, there's some advanced TFH thinking there

Re:EEG limited? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350002)

wow, there's some advanced TFH thinking there

Just because something sounds like a far-fetched paranoid sci-fi nightmare, goes against all mainstream current scientific knowledge, has no evidence to back it up and is incapable of being disproved, doesn't mean it's wrong.

Re:EEG is limited, but people forget that (1)

xybe (525773) | more than 3 years ago | (#34347708)

IANAN (I Am Not A Neurologist) To put it graphically, the notion of reading thoughts from an EEG is comparable to trying to know what people are doing in a city only by looking at how many lights are on at any given time.

scam company? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#34346330)

Take a close look at the company in this article - it looks like it's just a scam run by a several time penny-stock scammer. This 'announcement' is just the latest in a series of pr designed to pump the stock so that he and others can dump even more shares at over-inflated prices.

oh come on... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34346430)

Are android user so afraid of iPhones that they have to constantly be reminding the world that they too have cutting edge possibilities?
Cutting eedge vaporware is still vaporware.

Re:oh come on... (1)

goldaryn (834427) | more than 3 years ago | (#34346800)

Cutting eedge vaporware is still vaporware.

Well, that's awkward. Who wants to be the one to tell OCZ that the product [ocztechnology.com] that they have released to market [pixmania.co.uk] is vaporware? (Shotgun not me.)

prior art (2, Funny)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#34346568)

Apple has had mind control for years... just look at their army of fanboys.

Apple had this a long time ago (2, Funny)

t2t10 (1909766) | more than 3 years ago | (#34346660)

Thought control has been built into iOS for a long time.

How else would you explain this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dikaQjMO388 [youtube.com]

universal sense? (1)

unknownymous (1947594) | more than 3 years ago | (#34346662)

This is probably good news for people who are paralyzed, since this gives their 'third eye' an ability to use and can render it to be universally acceptable. Although I don't know if it could be what I'm thinking or not.

Really? (1)

homey of my owney (975234) | more than 3 years ago | (#34346670)

What am I thinking?

Re:Really? (1)

Cylix (55374) | more than 3 years ago | (#34347084)

You are not quite sure if the male enhancement drugs are working. Perhaps, it was also a bad idea to down 5 of them with a fifth of vodka. Really, alcohol enhances the effects of all drugs and you were only shooting for a fighting chance.

We were going to order some for FSU research (2, Interesting)

snizzle (1879832) | more than 3 years ago | (#34346764)

We were going to order some of these for the development of our recommendation system called "Smart Player" which is a phone app. But, the people at emotiv don't take payment through anything but paypal which is a problem for a University. "Just put the money in an anonymous paypal account".

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34346794)

I'd just like to point out that, while the summery and article headline mention "brainwaves", the article describes this thing registering facial expressions. It sound more like this device picks up the electrical activity of the facial muscles, not the brain.

"Thought-Controlled" may be a bit of a stretch.

Great but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34346836)

...I'd just like to point out that, while the summery and article headline mention "brainwaves", the article describes this thing registering facial expressions. It sound more like this device picks up the electrical activity of the facial muscles, not the brain.

"Thought-Controlled" may be a bit of a stretch.

Re:Great but.. (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | more than 3 years ago | (#34346878)

"Thought-Controlled" may be a bit of a stretch.

How about Mindlessly Manipulated?

Summary confuses companies and tech (4, Interesting)

heironymous (197988) | more than 3 years ago | (#34347038)

The slashdot summary is incorrect. Emotiv is made by a rival company, not by (formerly) Jedi mind. Also, Emotiv seems to recognize facial expressions, not read brain signals. So, there's some confusion here.

Re:Summary confuses companies and tech (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 3 years ago | (#34347124)

Well, I can read people's facial expressions also, does this mean I only need to train myself to be a mind controller?

Confusion, indeed.

Re:Summary confuses companies and tech (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350062)

Well, I can read people's facial expressions also, does this mean I only need to train myself to be a mind controller?

Interestingly, this ability seems to be at least part of the secret behind performers like Derren Brown, so the answer is "yes, sort of".

Re:Summary confuses companies and tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34347818)

Emotiv does NOT recognize facial expressions. At least be correct when you are correcting someone.

Re:Summary confuses companies and tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34348102)

Here is an interesting run down on Emotiv ,competing products and what they are capable of. (Emotive is at the end.)

http://www.notascoolasitseems.com/review/brain-computer-interface-emerging-technologies

Emotive seems to be the best on offer today and has several different types of thought patterns and input that it recognizes.
  It seems surprisingly capable considering it is one of the first serious attempts at a consumer level brain computer interface. It is however very sensitive to interference.
The sci-fi future I wanted as a kid isn't too far away.

Re:Summary confuses companies and tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34349736)

Emotiv reads facial muscles as well as brain waves. It provides them as entirely seperate inputs to configure.
Having purchased the emotiv epoc, the neurosky and the ocz nia headset, it is by far the top of the 3 but the technology is still early days.

It's fun to play with, and does work (better if you just got a haircut), but don't have any expectation of replacing any input devices with it quite yet.

The first thought-controlled app ... (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 3 years ago | (#34347888)

... should of course be Firefox.

Re:Thought-controlled app ... (1)

sempir (1916194) | more than 3 years ago | (#34348654)

Quite a few of the posts here look like they were the result of a thought inspired app........only problem is they haven't quite got the hang of it yet.

In Apple Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34348062)

...app thought controls you!

Yes, I know, I know. I just couldn't resist

drop the -led (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34348152)

Call me again when you have apps for thought control.

The force is strong in this one (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 3 years ago | (#34350294)

If you believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.

And then you give it Outlook/Exchange integration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34350320)

Per a prior article.... then you give your thought controlled Andriod phone Outlook/Exhchange integration - and the administrator can remotely wipe everything from your phone...and your brain!! .. of course a large quantity of the population would still seem perfectly normal after such an event - since there's virtually nothing in their brains anyways. :-P

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