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July 23, 2010 11:07 PM   Subscribe

Tan Le shows off a headset that reads your brainwaves in action.

A TED talk from the people behind Emotiv. Buy yours now for only 300 dollars.

Previously. Previouslier.
posted by cthuljew (34 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Apperently, it kind of doesn't really work all that great, but still cool.
posted by empath at 11:28 PM on July 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


APPARENTLY jeez
posted by empath at 11:28 PM on July 23, 2010


The EPOC is not a mass market device for people looking for a turnkey telekinesis solution

And for 300 bucks, what more could one expect? It sounds like it's frustrating as all hell to calibrate but does what it claims it does, which is more than I expected. It's a gimmicky gadget for now but another 10 years and we really will be living in the future. But it'll always require a hell of a lot of calibration because we all think differently.

Even in this review it's evident the reviewer is thinking verbal-commands-in-their-head: "Right! Right!" while I would be more inclined to think in spatial reference or perhaps via motion sensation...though the latter is already giving me motion sickness just sitting here typing this.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure spending weeks struggling with psychic Pong is three hundred dollars well spent. Do want.
posted by mek at 11:47 PM on July 23, 2010



The EPOC is not a mass market device for people looking for a turnkey telekinesis solution

REALLY? Damn. Colour me unsurprised.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 12:07 AM on July 24, 2010


The EPOC is not a mass market device for people looking for a turnkey telekinesis solution

So I'm not the only one looking for a turnkey telekinesis solution!
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:28 AM on July 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


So I'm not the only one looking for a turnkey telekinesis solution!

The remote control industry is going to bury this. Just watch, it'll be the last you hear of it.
posted by edguardo at 12:31 AM on July 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, if Kevin, or The Amazing Randi, thought "disappear" when he was told to think "move forward" and vice versa, it would be "move forward" that was difficult and "disappear" which was easy? I mean, the graphics are pretty but it's just demonstrating that the person wearing the head set can grossly create the "same" pattern twice.

Also (and I speak as someone who has had electrodes connected to my scalp) she never explained how the problem of not needing the abrasive prep and the gel was solved. That's the real difficult part in making a headset that you just slip on and it makes good connections. Plus there is the problem of filtering out the interfering signals from devices in the environment and the "artifact" signals caused by involuntary body movements such as blinking. The gross recognition and the cute computer graphics are pretty trivial.
posted by Obscure Reference at 12:56 AM on July 24, 2010


Also, note that the Segway already senses the direction in which you want to move without needing to map your brain waives.
posted by Obscure Reference at 1:03 AM on July 24, 2010


When the turkeys acquire a telekinesis solution, Thanksgiving is going to look very different.
posted by horsewithnoname at 1:12 AM on July 24, 2010 [12 favorites]


Uh, "brainwaves" are just the waves you can measure with electrodes. A headset that can read your brainwaves isn't surprising, that's the whole point of brain waves. They actually sold hand-held devices that could "read brainwaves" for PCs in the 1990s. It's not really that interesting at all.

Also TED sucks.
posted by delmoi at 1:32 AM on July 24, 2010


It's not really that interesting at all.

Really? Not at all? Not even one tiny little bit?

Using brain waves to interact with computers must be so boring and commonplace where you come from in the future. Why don't you just get back in your boring time machine and go back to whenever you came from and drive around in your super lame flying car. Be careful not to hit any annoying people flying around all willy nilly with their jet packs.
posted by chillmost at 3:29 AM on July 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


As soon as I figure out how to hook this up to my chaingun, things are going to change around here.
posted by felix betachat at 4:08 AM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Knock my socks off. Or not.
posted by fleacircus at 5:07 AM on July 24, 2010


Really? Not at all? Not even one tiny little bit?

Yes, not even a little bit. Look at the demo. It appears that you can calibrate it to do one thing. Then do that one thing. Not even well. Maybe. My guess is that you could probably do this stuff with any kind of biofeedback device. Hell, there are people out there right now who do more sophisticated stuff using just their breath to control wheelchairs.

I am beginning to think that someone flatulent could get up on stage at Ted and let a few rip and get a standing ovation for their innovative progress in the development of sustainable biofuels.
posted by srboisvert at 6:50 AM on July 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have a Neurosky MindSet, which is a bit cheaper and a lot easier to use (and also not quite as versatile) as the EPOC. I bought it mianly because a group of online friends were arguing about whether it does real EEG. It doesn't require wetted sensors and is in the form of a headphone with a little arm that swings over to land a contact on your forehead, so it's a lot easier to put on on impulse.

It does indeed do real EEG, sensing brainwaves and doing FFT to determine relative energy levels in different frequency bands. A doctor who was on that mailing list asked if there was a difference if I put it on my knee instead of my head, and there was indeed. But as he added later, a single EEG channel that isn't calibrated in standard units is pretty useless for the usual kinds of EEG therapy. And while I was hoping it would be useful for biofeedback training the software it came with isn't very good for that and while it would be possible to write my own (the brainwave data comes over a bluetooth serial port with a documented API) I just haven't had the inclination.
posted by localroger at 6:51 AM on July 24, 2010


Why don't you just get back in your boring time machine and go back to whenever you came from

I think the point delmoi is making is that eeg has been around for quite a while. What Tan claims is to read thoughts (which would be interesting) by reading brainwaves and that is clearly not what is going on. So not interesting, not even one little bit. What is interesting is the use of similar gear to help folks control their emotions through neurofeedback. I get to work with this a bit as we use it to help our athletes train out fear based responses that lead to adrenaline OD, which is a really interesting application.

Also, Ted really sucks.
posted by jchack at 6:59 AM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


i caught an old episode of nova on tv recently that looked like it was shot several years ago that was more impressive than this. guy had his shit wired up to steer his sailboat.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:21 AM on July 24, 2010


I would use this amazing TK technology for deep drilling oil in the Gulf.
posted by storybored at 8:04 AM on July 24, 2010


Human Trials Next for Darpa’s Mind-Controlled Artificial Arm
posted by homunculus at 9:02 AM on July 24, 2010


If anyone wants to write a parody of Neuromancer, you can start with this scene:
Before slipping it onto your noggin, you've got to individually dampen the 16 sensor pads in their case (but not too wet, the instructions warn). Then you have to slot them into the 16 holes in the headpiece and try to slide that into place without any of them falling out. I can now do this pretty well, but the first half-dozen or so attempts regularly sent five or six of the sensor pads cascading onto my shoulders and rolling away around the room
posted by griphus at 10:04 AM on July 24, 2010


The EEG is a very crude instrument for assessing what's going on in the brain. Using 20 or so electrodes to gauge the activity of 100 billion neurons is like trying to determine the action of a football game from outside the stadium by listening to the crowd noise.
posted by neuron at 10:26 AM on July 24, 2010


But what do I know?
posted by neuron at 10:27 AM on July 24, 2010


Let me know when they get one of these helmets with a reverse setting- using the electrodes to control the user's thoughts.
posted by happyroach at 10:57 AM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Using brain waves to interact with computers must be so boring and commonplace where you come from in the future.

The future? Brain wave reader perpherals for PCs have been around for a while. And the technology has been around since the 1920s
posted by delmoi at 12:14 PM on July 24, 2010


I didn't think even MetaFilter could manage to hate on TED, let alone the very idea of technological telekinesis based on five minutes of a guy using it for the first time and a reviewer who is apparently unaware of different modes of thought.

Maybe it's best to resort to the words of Louis CK.
posted by cmoj at 1:09 PM on July 24, 2010


let alone the very idea of technological telekinesis

I think what is being hated on is the false assertion that technological telekinesis is being demonstrated in this demo. It is talks like Tan's or better Elaine Margan's talk on the Aquatic Ape theory that make me hate TED. Oh, and by hate I mean wish that it lived up to it's potential instead of sucking mostly.
posted by jchack at 1:26 PM on July 24, 2010


I'm not convinced it's really reading brainwaves, at least not in this demonstration. Notice at 4:08 Ms. Le says

Now on to the detection algorithm. So facial expressions images [?... unintelligible] and emotional experiences are actually designed to work out of the box, with some sensitivity adjustments available for personalization.

Most of the applications under development showcased near the end seemed to take advantage of facial expressions and galvanic skin response. All very cool, but the distinction is important here as people with certain neuromuscular diseases will still be unable to use such a wheelchair interface. And I doubt even people with unimpaired neuromuscular control of their faces will have an easy time maintaining such a rictus.
posted by Soliloquy at 2:26 PM on July 24, 2010


The electroencephalograph has been around quite a while. And for most of that time people have been training other people to "do things" with their brain waves. A psych prof I had in college (~1968) used an EEG and an isolation chamber (read: small quiet dark room with comfy chair) to train paid volunteers to crank up their rate of alpha wave production. Brainwaves to EEG, EEG to computer (rather larger than a breadbox), computer to volunteer's student account. More alpha, more pay. It hella worked, too.
posted by jfuller at 5:25 PM on July 24, 2010


As someone doing almost identical EEG neurofeedback research today, 40 years later, I have to agree that "consumer-grade" EEG devices are painfully, knowingly oversold.

Even supposing the device in question actually records electrical activity and actually uses FFT to measure power in individual bands, it's still probably recording mostly noise. In a controlled lab setting, with clinical-grade equipment, impedance-checking routines, and lots of electrodes, we still have a great deal of trouble collecting useful, noise-free data.

The thing is, EEG is a very fiddly methodology. Data gets corrupted because of nearby muscular activity (e.g., eyeblinks, jaw-clenching, grimacing). Data gets corrupted because a recording electrode makes less-than-optimal contact with the scalp. Data gets corrupted because of humidity levels in the room.
posted by Nomyte at 5:48 PM on July 24, 2010


See, this is why I'm glad I posted this. I'm learning about EEG and the state of consumer electronics, AND I got to watch a cube disappear. Plus, Hong Kong accent! How often do you get to hear one of those?
posted by cthuljew at 7:35 PM on July 24, 2010


Turnkey telekinesis solutions won't be satisfactory until they let me choke people with my mind.

Or at least turn actual keys.
posted by axiom at 7:42 PM on July 24, 2010


So I'm not the only one looking for a turnkey telekinesis solution!

The remote control industry is going to bury this. Just watch, it'll be the last you hear of it.
posted by edguardo at 1:31 AM


Damn you Big Remote Control! Always with the control from a distance!
posted by Balisong at 9:26 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Big Remote Control is ready for this.
posted by griphus at 9:31 PM on July 24, 2010


> Or at least turn actual keys.

Bending spoons, any dork can do that.
posted by jfuller at 7:20 PM on July 25, 2010


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