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Paralyzed Patients Control Robot With Brain Waves 49

sciencehabit writes with a writeup of a French research paper in Science. From the article: "They're not quite psychic yet, but machines are getting better at reading your mind. Researchers have invented a new, noninvasive method for recording patterns of brain activity and using them to steer a robot. Scientists hope the technology will give 'locked in' patients ... the ability to interact with others and even give the illusion of being physically present ... with friends and family." The really interesting thing here is that people who had not used their limbs in years were able to learn how to control the robot (as well as the control group did) after being trained only an hour a week for six weeks.
Input Devices

Research Lets You Type Words By Thought Alone 114

An anonymous reader writes "How about typing on a computer just by thinking about it? The downside is you have to wear a skull cap with electrodes that capture your brain waves like an EEG machine. According to this EE Times story, a team of researchers from Belgium and the Netherlands has presented Mind Speller, a thought-to-text device intended to help people with movement disabilities. The system does rely on a lot of processing on a remote computer, but it is a wireless system. And these thought-to-computer systems have wider applicability than medical support. One of the research groups involved in this development has already looked at wireless electroencephalography (EEG) to enable measures of emotion to be fed back into computer games."

Next X-Prize — $10M For a Brain-Computer Interface 175

The first X-Prize was about reaching space. Now, reader destinyland writes "This time it's inner space, as Peter Diamandis holds a workshop at MIT discussing a $10 million X-Prize for building a brain-computer interface. This article includes video of Ray Kurzweil's 36-minute presentation, 'Merging the Human Brain with Its Creations,' and MIT synthetic neuroscientist Ed Boyden also made a presentation, followed by discussion groups about Input/Output, Control, Sensory, and Learning. Besides the ability to communicate by thought, the article argues, a Brain-Computer Interface X Prize 'will reward nothing less than a team that provides vision to the blind, new bodies to disabled people, and perhaps even a geographical 'sixth sense' akin to a GPS iPhone app in the brain.'"
Input Devices

Typing With Your Brain 262

destinyland writes "This article asks, 'Why bother to type a document using a keyboard when you can write it by simply thinking about the letters?' A brain wave study presented at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society shows that people with electrodes in their brains can 'type' using just their minds. The study involved electrocorticography — a sheet of electrodes laid directly on the surface of the brain after a surgical incision into the skull. ('We were able to consistently predict the desired letters for our patients at or near 100 percent accuracy,' explains one Mayo clinic neurologist.) And besides typing, there's new brain wave applications that can now turn brain waves into music and even Twitter status updates — by thought alone."

Intel Says Brain Implants Could Control Computers By 2020 314

Lucas123 writes "Scientists at Intel are working on developing sensors that would be implanted in a person's head in order to harness brain waves that could then be used to control computers, televisions, cell phones and other electronic equipment. Intel has already used Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (FMRI) machines to determine that blood flow changes in specific areas of the brain based on what word or image someone is thinking of. People tend to show the same brain patterns for similar thoughts. 'Eventually people may be willing to be more committed ... to brain implants. Imagine being able to surf the Web with the power of your thoughts.' said Intel research scientist Dean Pomerleau."

Companies To Invade Your Retinas As Soon As Next Year? 245

Engadget is one of many reporting that Brother and NEC both seem to have retina display technology in the works for release next year. Brother, at least, seems to have a fully functional prototype, while so far NEC is mostly talk. "Naturally, there are a few considerable limitations compared to more traditional displays, but the company's as yet unnamed goggles do promise to beam an 800 x 600 image directly into your retina that'll appear as a 10-centimeter wide image floating about one meter in front of them -- which is certainly no small feat, even if it may not be the most practical one. Slightly less specific, but also working on a retina display of its own is NEC, which apparently hopes to incorporate a microphone into their display and use it as a real-time translation device that would quite literally display subtitles as you talk to someone."

Elder-Assist Robotic Suits, From the Real Cyberdyne 121

Tasha26 writes "No, not the one which will end up building terminator robots. BBC's Click brings news of a Japanese company, Cyberdyne, which is in the process of building different robotic suits to assist the elderly in accomplishing simple body tasks such as walking and lifting. Even though still in R&D, this video (@3m15s) shows a pretty promising future for the elderly."

10/GUI — an Interface For Multi-Touch Input 344

Naznarreb writes "R. Clayton Miller has an extremely impressive GUI concept he's calling 10/GUI (video; written description here). Essentially, it combines the high-bandwidth input possibilities of multi-touch interfaces with the ease and immediacy of a mouse. The video is quite interesting, and, for me at least, pretty jaw dropping. This is a dramatic re-imagining of the current mouse/screen schema, one that I think has significant potential."
Input Devices

BrainPort Lets the Blind "See" With Their Tongues 131

Hugh Pickens writes "Scientific American reports that a new device called 'BrainPort' aims to restore the experience of vision for the blind and visually impaired by relying on the nerves on the tongue's surface to send light signals to the brain. BrainPort collects visual data through a small digital video camera and converts the signal into electrical pulses sent to the tongue via a 'lollipop' that sits directly on the tongue, where densely packed nerves receive the incoming electrical signals. White pixels yield a strong electrical pulse and the electrodes spatially correlate with the pixels, so that if the camera detects light fixtures in the middle of a dark hallway, electrical stimulations will occur along the center of the tongue. Within 15 minutes of using the device, blind people can begin interpreting spatial information. 'At first, I was amazed at what the device could do,' says research director William Seiple. 'One guy started to cry when he saw his first letter.'" There is some indication that the signals from the tongue are processed by the visual cortex. The company developing the BrainPort will submit it to the FDA for approval later this month, and it could be on sale (for around $10,000) by the end of the year.

Mind-Blowing Interfaces On Display At SIGGRAPH 2009 173

An anonymous reader writes "Tech Review has a roundup of some cool, experimental new interfaces being shown at SIGGRAPH 2009, underway in New Orleans this week. They include an amazing 'touchable holograph' display, developed by a team in Japan, which uses an ultrasound device to simulate the sense of touch as the user grasps objects shown in 3D. The other ideas on display are Augmented Reality for Ordinary Toys, Hyper-Realistic Virtual Reality, 3D Teleconferencing and Scratchable Input Devices. If this is the future of computers, sign me up." The conference has also seen the release of OpenGL 3.2 by the Khronos Group.
Hardware Hacking

Wearable Computer With Lightweight HUD 150

zeazzz writes to mention that the folks over at UMPC have a very cool little writeup and pictorial of a user's latest wearable PC. With the surge in smart phone adoption it seems that enthusiasm for wearable computers has dropped off a bit, which is too bad. I certainly look forward to my augmented reality HUD instead of depending on my iPhone for everything. "Essentially he took the MyVu headset, removed one of the eye pieces, and mounted the other to his glasses to that he could see his surroundings and the UX's screen at the same time. The MyVu is attached to the UX through the A/V output port on the UX's port replicator dongle. With some additional addons he provided his UX with extra battery life via an external battery, and several input methods to communicate with the UX while the rest of the kit resides within the backpack."

Oblong's g-speak Brings "Minority Report" Interface To Life 221

tracheopterix writes "Oblong Industries, a startup based in LA has unveiled g-speak, an operational version of the notable interface from Minority Report. One of Oblong's founders served as science and technology adviser for the film; the interface was an extension of his doctoral work at the MIT Media Lab. Oblong calls g-speak a 'spatial operating environment' and adds that 'the SOE's combination of gestural i/o, recombinant networking, and real-world pixels brings the first major step in computer interface since 1984.'" The video shown on Oblong's front page is an impressive demo.

A 3D Curve Sketching System For Tablets 72

dominique_cimafranca writes "The Dynamic Graphics Project of the University of Toronto has released a pretty nifty 3D curve sketching system. Apart from the large drawing area, the tablet software looks very intuitive to artists. From the site: 'The system coherently integrates existing techniques of sketch-based interaction with a number of novel and enhanced features. Novel contributions of the system include automatic view rotation to improve curve sketchability, an axis widget for sketch surface selection, and implicitly inferred changes between sketching techniques. We also improve on a number of existing ideas such as a virtual sketchbook, simplified 2D and 3D view navigation, multi-stroke NURBS curve creation, and a cohesive gesture vocabulary.'"
Input Devices

OCZ's Brain Mouse Hits the Store 150

John Roller writes "Three months to the day since Slashdot originally received word that OCZ's "brain-mouse" — the Neural Impulse Actuator was ready for shipping, the first in-depth review of the device containing pictures of the retail packaging along with several videos have arrived on the internet. Overclock3D.Net got the first look at the device, and although it's still early days, they managed to play a game of "Pong" using only brain power. The article is only part one in a month-long log of using the device, but it's extremely interesting to see what the people who have pre-ordered the device can expect from it when it arrives on their doorsteps shortly."

Hitachi Does Microsoft Surface Without the Table 110

An anonymous reader writes "According to CNET.co.uk, who randomly stumbled into a booth at CES, Toshiba has created a Microsoft Surface-type system without the unwieldy table. 'The StarBoard system is really two technologies in one. Firstly, it features Hitachi's short-throw LCD projector. This is important, because the projector sits mere inches from the interactive surface. This means you get a huge — 50-inch, in fact — bright screen, which doesn't get blocked out by your head as you lean over the table. The image it projects is incredibly high-quality too, and there was no noticeable distortion.' The video attached to the article shows the system in action." It should be noted that the implication that leaning over the table blocks a projection from above is spurious; the Surface projects an image from below. The 'overhead' setup at CES was a camera designed to show onlookers what was taking place on the table.

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This is clearly another case of too many mad scientists, and not enough hunchbacks.