Interaxon, a Canadian based company, has been working on a number of neural interface gadgets. The gadgets rely on information obtained through a device placed in front of the user’s forehead, allowing the user to mentally manipulate whatever device you happen to be linked with at the time. So far, the technology can only read whether or not a person is focused or relaxed, as well as being able to determine basic emotions, but it isn’t able to read anyone’s mind, in the truest sense of the term. The concept behind this is basically to scan the brain for significant changes in the brain’s magnetic field. When different emotions come into play, different parts of the brain react in different ways. Since the brain works through tiny electrical impulses, the neural interface scanner is able to pick up the magnetic fields given off by groups of these impulses, and determine their frequencies. The system then responds to how high the concentration of a particular type of wave, in this case an alpha wave, is. CNN has a good video interview about it here: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/tech/2010/07/16/nr.gaming.with.mind.cnn, and you can access Interaxon’s website here: http://www.interaxon.ca/how_it_works
This is amazing. It’s going to be fascinating to see all the different ways that this will be used; let’s hope that we use it responsibly, though.