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Mobile App Screens Calls With Brain Waves

Soulskill posted 1 year,14 days | from the because-moving-even-the-tiniest-muscle-is-undignified dept.

Software 40

alphadogg writes "A mobile app under development can filter phone calls and reroute them directly to voicemail by reading brain waves, cutting the need for users to press buttons on the smartphone screen. The app, called Good Times, is the brainchild of Ruggero Scorcioni, CEO and founder of Brainyno, who presented the technology at the AT&T Innovation Showcase in New York, where some of the company's top research projects were highlighted. The app analyzes brainwaves as a phone call comes in, and depending on a person's mental state, reroutes a call. Information about brain waves is collected by a headset and sent to the smartphone via a Bluetooth connection, after which the app uses algorithms to analyze the status of a brain." Of course, the user has to be wearing a headset to detect the brainwaves. The software's creator hopes such detection can someday be integrated into devices like Google Glass.

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40 comments

I might be paranoid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#43368467)

But I don't want to give the machines a way to read my mind!

Re:I might be paranoid... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#43368563)

Absolutely.

You're paranoid.

I wouldn't use it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#43368475)

I get stressed out every time my boss calls, and this thing would just hang up on him to try to "help".
I don't think "it wasn't me, it was my phone!" would cut it for very long, if at all.

Re:I wouldn't use it. (1)

denmarkw00t (892627) | 1 year,14 days | (#43369715)

Actually: "It wasn't me, it was my brain. Oh ...I mean, it was the thought that it was you... oh my. Yes, I'm blocking all calls right now as I'm stressing about losing my job."

Good luck! (4, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | 1 year,14 days | (#43368485)

Of course, the user has to be wearing a headset to detect the brainwaves. The software's creator hopes such detection can someday be integrated into devices like Google Glass.

I cannot get voice-dial to work on my new phone. It seems to pick something random and unrelated to what I say.

But I am sure a brain-wave detector will work seamlessly very soon.

Flip Side (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#43368617)

Would you trust AT&T to have access to a device that could sense/read your brain waves?

Even it if worked as described; Pass.

Re:Good luck! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#43368755)

I cannot get voice-dial to work on my new phone. It seems to pick something random and unrelated to what I say.

Did you mean to say "Dear aunt, let's set so double the killer delete select all"?

Just get rid of the WP8 phone and get an Android. Voice dialing works fine on them.

Re:Good luck! (1)

tehcyder (746570) | 1 year,14 days | (#43368845)

Unless you're a call centre operator or physically disabled in some way, voice dialling is just pure wank.

Re:Good luck! (1)

denmarkw00t (892627) | 1 year,14 days | (#43369775)

Pure wank, never mind the convenience of dialing while driving and not having to look at the phone. Too bad I still crashed as I was wanking at the time. But, now I'm disabled, so it's voice-dialing alllllll day.

Re:Good luck! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#43369115)

Sure it does. First time I used it, it dialed my ex. Never even tried it since.

Re:Good luck! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#43371583)

But what if you combine voice dial + brain-wave reading to augment the accuracy and relate what you say with what you think you said.

"Also..." (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | 1 year,14 days | (#43368601)

"...I can screen your calls with my brain."

Re:"Also..." (2)

alostpacket (1972110) | 1 year,14 days | (#43368997)

Screen calls? Eventually the app could answer and have the conversation we were going to have. Also there will be apps to make calls for us based on what we're thinking. If all goes well, these apps will call each other and have the entire conversation without us. I hope it is an interesting conversation!

I wonder if they will get their own facebook accounts....

Google Glass? (1)

frootcakeuk (638517) | 1 year,14 days | (#43368611)

Yeah, OK. That's ONE target audience, but I think just a Bluetooth headset with this kinda capability would be more useful/profitable. Who wants to bet we won't see that kinda thing coming from China in the next 5 years?

So ... soo tired of April 1st articles (1)

ackthpt (218170) | 1 year,14 days | (#43368619)

Wait, wut?

Someone alert the Whitehouse, Obama is all for brain mapping.

Good idea. (3, Funny)

Cenan (1892902) | 1 year,14 days | (#43368625)

I'm sure it's a super idea, transmitting your mental state over Bluetooth, what could possibly go wrong?

drunk dialing?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#43368725)

OH my gosh!! Don't give the phone TOO much power based on my brain waves. Can you imagine if it could dial based on what I'm thinking? Drunk dialing/texting would be WAY out of hand!

The more effective approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#43368759)

I find it simpler and more effective just to answer the call and tell the person to fuck off if I don't want to talk. Doesn't require my cell phone to read my thoughts and often prevents subsequent calls.

Cat ears... (2)

Destoo (530123) | 1 year,14 days | (#43368763)

A friend bought a set of brainwave sensing cat ears at Pax East two weeks ago.

They worked so-so with him, but during the weekend we saw a girl with a set on who was reading. The ears WERE moving left and right as she was concentrating on the text.

Re:Cat ears... (2)

dpidcoe (2606549) | 1 year,14 days | (#43370015)

As an owner of both the cat ears, and a neuroheadset made by a company called Emotive, I can say from firsthand experience that this sort of technology just isn't quite there yet. And in the case of using it to control things in a conscious manner, probably won't be for a long time. It's hard to rapidly change mental state, and it's often not a binary thing either. Add in the detection lag and even if I could consciously send the correct brainwaves to the thing it would still leave me sitting there wondering why I couldn't have just pressed a button or used a voice command instead.

The cat ears do an ok job of detecting mental state, though I feel like the "concentration" indicator of the ears wildly swinging back and forth is more of an error state than anything else, at least in my pair (after entering it, mine will continue to go nuts even if I remove the headset). In my opinion they're actually a good example of correct application of this kind of technology. Rather than relying on the user for direct control, they're monitoring the user and then taking a non-critical but useful action (indicating mental state to other people) based one what they observe.

In the case of the Emotive headset, it was a massive letdown. Their marketing is completely fine hyping up the "IT READS YOUR BRAIN!!11" selling point, and then showing videos of people controlling wheelchairs or moving a mouse pointer around, implying they're doing that with their thoughts. They actually aren't. Most of that is coming from facial muscles (the headset has pretty good detection of those, and can make an avatar match facial expressions with maybe 80% accuracy), or the gyro in the back of the headset. After a lot of fiddling with it over several weeks, the best I could make it do with pure brain scanning to differentiate between a baseline and 2 other mental states. All of them took me several seconds to get myself into, and it took the headset another second or so on top of that to detect and respond. They'd often get triggered or broken by random external events, and generally weren't reliable enough to actually use to control something.

In order to make this kind of technology continue on without turning it into a pariah (Flying cars and AI research anyone?), they need to do 3 things:

1) improve the detection

2) find useful applications for it that actually make sense. Anything that doesn't need rapid input or fine grained control is a good candidate. Moving a mouse or clicking buttons: bad. Altering which song it queues up next in your home entertainment system based on your current observed mental state: better.

3) expectations management. Detecting brain activity with something like an FMRI is fairly precise, but even then it would be tricky to make it give someone conscious, fine grained control over something. An MRI machine is bulky and expensive, your $50 EEG electrode is $50. These aren't devices that can ~read your brainwaves~, they're a single EEG electrode that's detecting electrical signals that may or may not be emanating from your brain. The people marketing these devices need to emphasize that. Otherwise they're going to end up 10 years down the road with a general public that's bitter over not being able to telepathically communicate like the borg.

And you can have the mindreading headset for free! (2)

RevWaldo (1186281) | 1 year,14 days | (#43368887)

Just check the Terms of Service agreement box and you're good to go!

What? You wanna read it first? Whatareya some kind of a nut?

.

It will be outlawed. (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | 1 year,14 days | (#43368973)

For this technology to work the user should have some minimal detectable level of brain activity. So it is going to be totally useless to our congress critters and they would outlaw anything that is not personally useful to them.

Good Times (1)

Eric Smith (4379) | 1 year,14 days | (#43369075)

If you hear of an app called Good Times, don't download or install it. It is a virus that will erase your hard drive and put your phone's processor into an nth-complexity infinite binary loop.

Clone (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#43369117)

Amusingly, this is just a clone of the hackathon winner for the AT&T Dev Summit...so it takes about a weekend to write.

Integrated with Google advertizers (1)

femtobyte (710429) | 1 year,14 days | (#43369151)

The software's creator hopes such detection can someday be integrated into devices like Google Glass

so Google can helpfully sell the info on to advertisers about when you're in a maximally receptive/gullible brain state, and serve up ads at just the right times when you're subconsciously most vulnerable to propaganda.

Based on Mental State, eh? (1)

denmarkw00t (892627) | 1 year,14 days | (#43369855)

*Incoming call*
>> Brain state: focused, ignore call
= Focusing on Call of Duty means one voicemail from wife who is angry when she gets home and oops I'm still playing COD instead of prepping dinner. Let's try another:

*Incoming call*
>> Brain state: loose, open minded, answers call
= You're drunk and your boss called about the database spitting out strange errors on the QA env (and it's saturday) - but hey, you're willing to talk, you're wasted!

Personally, I prefer to look at my phone, see who is calling, and make a decision then and there. Or, if my phone is too far away, fudge it and leave a message. I don't want an app deciding that I'm in a good mood to answer a call everytime it's a telemarker (usually when I'm at work, in a good mood) or deciding that I'm too occupied or stressed to talk to my friends and family because I'm playing video games or taking out the trash.

Follow-on products (1)

chinton (151403) | 1 year,14 days | (#43369973)

Just wait for the follow-on products... "Want to know what the person you are calling really thinks of you? Buy this app!"

The need for this tech (2)

Graydyn Young (2835695) | 1 year,14 days | (#43370203)

Oh man taking my phone out and hitting a button is so hard. If only I could get the same functionality by shaving my head, lubing it up a bit, sticking some pads to it, and then entering a hypnotic state.

Finally (1)

hurfy (735314) | 1 year,14 days | (#43371523)

Thank goodness!
It was gettting to be Soooooo much work to press a button to answer or decide to do nothing to get it into voicemail....

I am sure the occasional error from this will be much less stressful than having to choose to press a button or not :O

sigh

whatever, I still use my vintage (that is correct for a 4 year old cell phone, right? not antique til next year..) flip phone. Got a good laugh yesterday when our salesman got a call on my line and said it sounds so much better than his smartphone!

Why hangup, why it doesn't reply as well on my beh (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,14 days | (#43373313)

Ask him to finish research ... And reply my dam phone call as well.

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